gadgets for good: FabLabs make it easy to build almost anything, now they will help rebuild Haiti
A FabLab is a “fabrication laboratory,” equipped with a variety of computer controlled tools, like laser cutters and mills, that work together to build pretty much anything, including furniture, electronics and houses. FabLabs began as an outreach program launched by MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and has grown into a worldwide initiative with over 30 labs in locations such as Afghanistan, California, Kenya and Germany.
The team is now focusing its sites on Haiti where so much was lost in the recent earthquake that there is now an urgent demand for the rebuilding and restoration of the region. To this end, FabLab is working to open a site in Port au Prince to, in their words, “help Haiti rebuild Haiti.”
According to the lab organizer, Amy Sun, their approach to helping Haiti will occur in two steps. In the short term, the team, or “FabFolk” as they call themselves, plans to host Haitian students at FabLabs all over the world in order to both offer temporary housing to displaced Haitians and to train them to be future lab operators and users. In the long term, they hope to direct resources towards fundraising, planning and building a FabLab in Haiti.
The FabFolk acknowledge that to some it might make more sense to first provide to the people of Haiti access to basic needs, such as food, shelter and water. But FabLabs, they say, promise comprehensive and lasting results. A FabLab is not simply a production center, but rather a place where Haitians can learn skills that they can carry with them to other communities in order to extend the rebuilding process to all corners of the country. In the words of the FabFolk, “FabLabs help people learn how to make things as much as they help people make things. Once a fablab gets through their initial training phase, it is up to them to start working on what they want. FabLabs make things as diverse as tractors, directional wifi antennas, hand-powered flashlights and chocolate boxes.”
You can help FabLabs rebuild Haiti by donating here.
We had to say it- this is fabulous.
One Response to “gadgets for good: FabLabs make it easy to build almost anything, now they will help rebuild Haiti”
Roderick Melvin Johnsonsays:
Posted: April 21, 2010 at 3:46 PM
Post a Comment