FabLab (Fabrication - or Fabulous - Laboratory) is a small-scale workshop with a range of computerized tools and is for anyone who wants to make use of electronic equipment not normally available to the general public.
The basic concept came from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where everyone has the opportunity use such a workshop with specialized equipment.
The power for such Fablab is on the one hand an education workplace and on the other hand, an innovative tool, according to project manager Marc Lambaerts, FabLab Leuven. Fablab makes it possible for students, (just start-up) companies and private individuals to make a product as a prototype or in small series." FabLabs acts as a bridge between enterprises and educational institutions.
From 2012, Students, companies and individuals in Brainport region Eindhoven can use FabLab Brainport as an innovation-oriented, shared workplace. FabLab Brainport will be located in the new business center Catalyst, at the campus of Technische University Eindhoven.
Anyone can walk into the FabLab Catalyst and use the device (first come, first served). The idea of FabLab Brainport is that companies and individuals pay for the use of machinery. Students can get free, but they must pay for cost of materials.
The lab will have a space around 55m2. Maximum 15 visitors may be present in the lab. The educational workshops with computerized tools allow users to 3D print, make prototypes, test and produce small quantities series at an acceptable price.
FabLab is also going to set up a workshop in Genk, Belgium. The two existing FabLab in Maastricht and Leuven are extended. The labs reinforce each other by sharing knowledge and relying on each other's specialties.
The four FabLab ensure better coordination of ideas, research and development between companies and research institutions in the international region. FabLab also encourage entrepreneurship among young people. The workshops are aimed specifically at engineers, designers, entrepreneurs and creative design sector.
The creation and expansion of the four international FabLabs have met the requirement from Interreg IV. Interreg is an initiative that aims to stimulate cooperation between regions in the European Union. Brainport Development and Leuven University Leuven has jointly asked for the subsidy to Fablab.
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