(02 June 2017) – AEIDL attended the European gathering of the Fab Labs in Toulouse on 11-14 May 2017 to facilitate a roundtable on ‘Fab Labs and rural Europe: state of the art and future options’.
The idea of Fab Labs is to make hi-tech available cheaply and quickly to entrepreneurs, students, artists, small businesses, or anyone who wants to create something new. The Fab Lab network is an open, creative community of ‘makers’ that promotes non-formal education and open innovation through local and bottom-up initiatives.
The movement is spreading rapidly in cities, but Fab Labs are also opening in many rural areas, usually combined with co-working space and other services such as a Repair cafés or IT training rooms.
Most participants in the roundtable agreed that the main challenge for sustainable rural Fab Labs is to create economies of scale by pooling resources together, creating a network of trainers and operators who traverse the countryside, from village to village, with demonstration campaigns and training camps for instance.