KWS Forum DAY 4 – ÉchoFab: A prototype workshop for community digital fabrication in Montreal
On October 2nd, 2014, in Montreal was held a workshop hosted by Échofab, in order to explore social innovation. The workshop was held in ETS (Ecole de Technologie Supérieure). Marc-Olivier Ducharme and Raphael Demers took us to their new facilities and we were invited to share and discuss ‘World Café’ style.
What is a Fab Lab?
A Fab Lab is a workshop, which provides its users with tools advanced technology, traditional tools and the know-how of its members to assist them in developing and implementing their projects. So you could of a Fab Lab as a platform that connects citizen-creators, architects and technology experts. Citizens can use this community space to meet their needs to create or innovate. By combining expertise and making use of digital fabrication tools, Fab Labs have managed to democratize the means of producing objects that were once reserved to the industrial world.
Fab Labs are also venues of knowledge that are focused around the collective knowledge, and that focus on sharing it. Among the many innovations of Fab Labs, one can find revolutionary tools such as 3D printer. The latter allows the user to produce a real object after drawing it on a screen and by printing thin layers of plastic onto a surface.
EchoFab the first FabLab Quebec. It is a prototype of community digital workshop. ÉchoFab offices are open to the community two days a week and offer extensive training. You can work on your own project, as well as contribute to collective projects. There is currently a network of 250 FabLabs worldwide.
The space is separated into three sections:
- A brainstorming and electronics workshop;
- A 3D printer space;
- A handicraft space, with a wide range of tools, from a hammer to machines.
After taking a tour of the space, the participants took part in a brainstorming discussion on the following topics: the role and importance of Fab Labs, entrepreneurship, the role of citizens in social innovation, collaboration and international cooperation.
During the workshop, participants were able to answer various questions such as ‘How to spark innovation through collaboration between different Fab Labs?’ or ” How to open development (open source) and collaborative technologies in an international network of Fab Labs in order to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship? “. The purpose of the brainstorming was to better understand the issue of Fab Labs in terms of creation of local businesses, but also abroad, through international collaboration. Through this workshop, ÉchoFab wanted to promote the general approach of the Fab Lab-based citizen involvement in the process of discussion and dissemination of knowledge, but also social and technological innovation.
You can find more information at http://www.echofab.org/