The MAKESPACE Fab Lab at Science World BC
Kailyn Skuban and Amber Didow
October 17, 2012
More than 1,000
Science World’s MAKESPACE fabrication laboratory is a place where you can collaborate, prototype and create innovative solutions using cutting-edge technology.
Give ordinary people the right tools, and they will design and build the most extraordinary things. That is the idea behind digital Fabrication Laboratories, or Fab Labs. They are small-scale workshops for computer-based innovation, design and fabrication. Fab Labs allow you to dream up, design and make almost anything you can imagine using cutting-edge software and equipment. Ordinary people do not readily have access to the equipment needed to take their digital ideas to a physical reality, which creates a barrier in creative innovation. Projects being developed in Fab Labs provide a venue for visitors of all ages in any community to invent, prototype, design, innovate, collaborate, and make mistakes. The MAKESPACE Fab Lab at Science World will be the first of its kind in a Canadian Science Centre, and will fulfill a need for this type of creative platform in Vancouver and the surrounding communities.
MAKESPACE will be a prototype and fabrication lab that will assist visitors to learn about science, technology, design and engineering through hands on experimentation. It will provide opportunities to engage with the ‘make’ community in deep ways, provide mentorship for youth, and demonstrate to visitors the process of prototyping and fabrication utilizing innovative technology. MAKESPACE will highlight local innovators, create a deeper learning culture within Science World, and remove barriers for ordinary people to not just learn about science and engineering but actually design machines and make measurements that are relevant to improving the quality of their lives.
MAKESPACE will be a fully kitted fabrication workshop which gives everyone in the community from small children through to entrepreneurs and businesses, the capability to turn any ideas and concepts into reality. Imagine a space where visitors explore, interact, dream, prototype and fabricate cool things using cutting edge technology within a community lab space at Science World. MAKESPACE will be a 1,700 sq ft studio, workshop and prototyping area that will be loaded with 3D printers, laser cutters, and other rapid prototyping and small-scale fabrication tools that allow users to make “almost anything”. Being the first to offer this unique space, Science World will differentiate itself from other Science Centres in Canada, by being the first of its kind with a fully functional Fab Lab.
MAKESPACE has several goals that it will achieve:
- To increase the profile of local innovations, technology, artistic endeavors and research
- To provide to Science World a valuable space to engage diverse audiences
- To inspire the general public to build, create, and invent using a broad array of equipment
- To provide a space where Science World staff can prototype exhibit ideas, share the process with our visitors, and receive feedback
- To provide a platform to educate and share information and the latest innovations
- To provide a hands-on space where everyday people can find solutions to problems in their local and global communities
Fab labs are a new global concept; the first one began in 2001 as an outreach project from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms. From this, labs have spread all over the world from inner-city Boston to rural India and Norway. Fab Labs, created in the spirit of collaboration, connect with others around the world, sharing ideas, knowledge and experiences. The types of innovative, economically sustainable projects that are created are most often informed by community needs. For example, In Barcelona, a solar powered house has been developed which could transform the way we live in a fully sustainable and environmentally friendly way. In Afghanistan, ‘Fab Labbers’ are creating antennas to extend the range of wireless internet and bringing communities together. The type of innovative solutions that could be born out of MAKESPACE, and make a huge difference to the world, are only limited to participants imaginations.
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