The FabLabs

FabLab is the acronym of Fabrication Laboratory, and it is a worldwide movement consisting in a network of public and private spaces which put at the disposal of their users the tools and know-how necessary to make their projects.

It is not only about a space with tools, it is a global idea which aims to share knowledge. In other words, one of its functions is to contribute to research and development, well by creating knowledge which is transferred later to the people, or motivating their users to do it.

This concept of sharing knowledge is not carried out only at local level, there is also what is known as the International FabLab Network, which aims to make easier the communication between al the FabLabs of the network. This way, if the users of a node don’t know how to perform something, someone from other node can teach them how to tackle the problem.

The origins of this movements lies in the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), where a lecturer called Neil Gershenfeld decided to create a space well-differentiated from the theoretical classes, where the students could learn-by-doing and could launch their own projects. The concept, easily replicable, leapt the ocean by the hand of a Norwegian man, who created a first copy of the original FabLab in the Scandinavian country.

The idea took them to create what was called the “Fab Foundation” in order to help in the creation of new FabLabs and to determine their category. Up to now officially exists more than 500 FabLabs wordwide, but there are way much more which are still growing and don’t belong to the International Network.

Spain is not an exception, and nowadays counts with several FabLabs with strong presence in the national and international scene, despite the low inversion on this kind of projects due to the economic crisis. Among them, one with special relevance is the FabLab of Barcelona, headed by Tomás Díez, as this is the Spanish node which communicate with the rest of Europe.

Amsterdam Fab Lab at The Waag Society. By Rory Hyde from Amsterdam, Netherlands (https://www.flickr.com/photos/roryrory/4941788744/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Amsterdam Fab Lab at The Waag Society. By Rory Hyde from Amsterdam, Netherlands (https://www.flickr.com/photos/roryrory/4941788744/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.