Froth always follows function at the Fab Lab cafe!

Just for a change, and especially as it’s Easter weekend, it’s good to finally come across something to rave about!

Ever since I first came across MiT’s Fab Lab concept, I’ve always seen it as a great model for the future development of Design and Technology in schools, and one that moves it away from an out-dated 1960s approach to mass-manufacture, towards the needs of a 21st Century post-industrial society.

Essentially a Fab Lab (short for Fabrication Laboratory) is a small workshop where people from the local community can go and design and make small batches of the things they and their local community need, using 2D and 3D CAD/laser printing systems. And where better to site such a workshop than a local secondary school where it can be used during weekdays by students and in the evenings and at weekend by the public (in many case working with, and probably guided by, the students).

But this new ‘Fab Cafe’ in Japan takes things a step further, and moves the idea out of a workshop into a cafe environment – traditionally a place where people congregate to talk, write, read, draw and entertain one another.  There are more photos of the cafe here.

So let’s consider replacing a traditional D&T workshop in every secondary school in the country with something similar. Students, staff and members of the local community can come in, relax, have a coffee together, collaboratively and globally discuss local needs, and develop their design ideas on their iPads and send them to the 3D laser printer in the corner. It would also be a great environment for learning coding and other IT skills.

However, it seems that 3D printers may soon be a thing of the past.

And maybe one day someone will even be able to explain to me how this actually works?

Don’t say:  I’ll have have a double de-caff skinny latte with an extra shot of laser-resin and a slice of Raspberry Pi. Oh, and an icy tea for my friend.

Do sayTea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Top image credit: masakiishitani