Friday, November 14, 2008

FABLAB – Barcelona

Today I have been in FABLAB – Barcelona with Vicente Guallart.

It is really impressive what they are doing there. FABLAB use 3D printers, with many different types of technologies to produce physical things.

Technologies range from powder that can produce small solids in full color to laser that can sculpt figures of the size of a car. See an example on the side of a consumer product – a bottle of shampoo in that case.

FABLAB are integrated with software that can print directly from CAD designs and we believe it could be the beginning of the next revolution in prototyping and to some extend in fabrication. With CAD the activity of designing was transferred from a specialized job to a computer program that everybody can handle easily and that doesn’t require any special tool. CAD democratized design lowering the entry barriers and providing the opportunity for building realistic designs to everybody.

However, now a barrier still exists: from design to the physical object. It is still costly, complex and complicated to produce a prototype and even more a short run series of a physical object. FABLABs are the first step in changing that. They aim to put at the reach of everybody their 3D printers.

Yesterday we were talking of coupling our Industrial ring – a high speed Internet network that links a group of companies to the FABLAB. So it will be not only possible to send easily the design to the FABLAB for production but with HD cameras industries in the net could actually see the result and check it immediately before shipping and engage in a HD video-conferencing with the FABLAB. This service should speed prototyping for these companies. We are also aiming to do the same thing for Engineering Schools, so they could produce easily cheap models. Also we will offer the service to the whole network of Living Labs.  


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