This link is a fantastic video by MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld on the development of Fab Labs at MIT, the growth and popularity of the Fab Lab, and how a small team of his students have taken the equipment to the masses. Professor Gershenfeld hypothesizes on the future of digital fabrication and how it would affect on the masses by drawing from the experience his students have had with mobile fab labs. Traveling to various places around the world, his students have been teaching adults and children how to utilize laser cutting and 3D printing technology, arduino controllers and programming, and CNC milling technologies.
Here is a closer look at the equipment used in MIT’s digital fabrication laboratory.
Do yourself a favor, and watch the full video in its entirety. It’s very compelling to see the idea of the fab lab from Prof. Gershenfeld’s point of view. Teaching classes, watching the growing popularity, and helping people realize how easy the processes actually are, has given him a positive outlook on the progression of digital fabrication. In the professor’s future, we all will have access to fabrication facilities.
To put it another way… Personal computing was at one point cumbersome and difficult to deal with, and now it’s part of our everyday lives. Digital fabrication can be intimidating with a steep learning curve, but the possibilities and the perfection are endless. Does this mean that we will all be makers and designers in the future? Will we be able to simply fabricate parts and products that we need instead of making a run to Ace hardware? Or will we all turn out like this guy