Fab Lab 2017
A Fab Lab (or Fabrications Laboratory), is a concept originally dreamt up by Neil Gershenfeld at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT). A Fab Lab is a facility (building) that houses the basic machinery required to make (in Gershenfeld’s words) “just about anything”. It is Gershenfeld’s belief that personal fabrication is on the rise, and soon enough, the world technologically enabled (anyone with a computer) will be able to download and print their own personal 3-dimensional objects. These may include the latest i-phone, running shoes, and at some stage, even a car.
Personal fabrication therefore encompasses the design, prototyping and three-dimensional printing of one’s ideas.
The South African government has realised the potential of this, and as a result, has installed Fab Labs all around the country. The closest lab is situated in Thokosa, a township situated south of Johannesburg. Local Fab Labs are expected to facilitate local and innovative technology development in an open source fashion. This means that a person who designs and fabricates their idea is required to leave behind a set of instructions that teaches other people how to re-make or generate an iteration of the artefact in return for using the facilities, knowledge and material that are provided for free by the Labs.
Students resolve the design of a prototypable artefact (Fab Lab community), to inspire innovation (attract users to the Lab) and to showcase the potential of the laboratory machinery. This empowers the communities that have access to Fab Labs by allowing potential Lab users to recreate these artifacts, which in the process of making, allows them to evolve the item or create spin offs, as well as understand what the potential of the Fab Lab facilities are.
HOW WE HELPED
Our community for this project were the users of the FabLab’s. Our aim was to educate individuals who enter the FabLab about the potential it houses and ultimately transfer knowledge onto the users about basic circuitry and electronics, so that they can bring their ideas to life.
Our brief was to educate the users of the FabLabs about electronics as well as basic circuitry. We are a continuation form the 2016 robot project. Taking it a step further this year, we were tasked to build a robot which would have its own circuit board, IR sensors , batteries, motors and a micro-chip which can be coded to follow a set of instructions/ ‘if statements’ which would allow the robot to follow a black line. In conclustion, we aimed to create a fun toy within the FabLab, which kids could then use and either race each other and build tracks to see who was the fastest
WHAT WE DID
Line Following Robot
This robot would involve using the laser cutter as well as the milling machine which would used to create your own circuit board. This robot would also educate the users of the FabLab about basic circuity, coding, electronics and IR sensors
We as a group feel that this robot will be a fun and educational way to teach the users of the FabLab about basic electronics and circuitry. They will gain vital knowledge about electronics through building the robot.
Once completed one will have a physical high-end toy robot which they themselves have created with a FabLab. They can then race their friends and see whose robot is the fastest around a track
We feel that our Line following robot provides valuable knowledge about basic circuitry as well as electronics to the FabLab users. Thus, solving the problem of users entering the FabLab without prior knowledge of these systems. By building this robot it will provide the user with a solid foundation for any future endeavours.