White House Maker Faire: The Mobile Fab Lab


Neil Gershenfeld: Hi,
I’m Neil Gershenfeld. I’m on the South Lawn of
the White House with the Mobile Fab Lab. I direct the Center for
Bits and Atoms at MIT, and we work on turning data
into things and things into data. So the research is how
to make a Star Trek Replicator. And so, this, for example
— you won’t really be able to see this — but
this is microelectronic Lego to make
integrated circuits. And this is carbon fiber
Lego to make jumbo jets as part of the research. Now coming out of that
research, one of the things that’s emerged
is personal fabrication, people create
what they consume. Behind me is a Mobile Fab Lab,
and it’s one of hundreds of labs that let people create
technology. So to start showing
you that, I’m going to introduce my student,
Nadia Peak, who makes machines that
make machines. So, Nadia, can
you explain these? Nadia Peak: Hi,
I’m Nadia Peak. I’m a PhD student at the
Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT. And all of these are
machines that we’ve made using digital fabrication
equipment to make more digital fabrication
equipment. And so, if you want to
have a custom machine, or you want a specific
purpose for your machine, then you can use the
digital fabrication equipment that you have
in a fab lab to make more custom purpose things. So, this is a folding
3D printer/milling machine/vinyl
cutter/liquid handler I made with
(inaudible). This is a small format
milling machine that I made with Jonathan Ward. These are reconfigurable
machines, and these are business spin-offs
from the machines that make the project. The form one is the
cheapest desktop SLA 3D printer, and the
Ultimaker is an FDM 3D printer. So, these are all things
that we have on display here right now in —
only 97 degrees at the White House. Neil Gershenfeld: And
then, with all of these tools, you can
create products instead of consuming them. So then I’ll introduce
Makeda to introduce herself and some of the
projects and products. Makeda Stephenson: So, my
name is Makeda Stephenson, and I am from Boston,
Massachusetts. I grew up in urban Boston,
and I was introduced to the Fab Lab at
about 12 years old. So I’ve been involved in
this for a long time; this has been a really
big role in my life. I’m now studying
engineering. What we have here is we
basically have projects that have been developed
by various people. So right here, on my
right, we have a cargo bike. This is made with
CNC (inaudible) equipment, all the
equipment that’s in the lab. We have a guitar that
was made using the CNC equipment on the lab. We have circuit trays,
these are actual circuit boards — I don’t know how
well you can see that — a prosthetic foot, which
you can imagine the implications in medicine;
guitar’s a composite circuit — skateboard,
and robot right there. Neil Gershenfeld: And so,
if all of this sounds interesting, you can
go to a fab lab in your community and do this. And if there isn’t a fab
lab in your community, you can start one.

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