At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr Neil Gershenfeld and Bakhtiar Mikhak are working to place the tools of invention into the hands of ordinary people through personal fabrication laboratories. Each $20,000 'fab lab' contains a collection of tools for cutting, connecting and computing, which can machine objects down to microns, a fraction of the size of a hair.
The first fab labs are now in place around the world giving life to such innovations as sensors to measure the fat content of milk in India; cassava grinders and agricultural tools in Ghana; and radio collars and wireless networks for tracking animal herds in Norway.
Gershenfeld aims to turn fab labs into self-sustaining operations that can fuel local economies, meet local needs and enable further innovation. He says that fab labs could be 'matters of survival' in developing countries - developing 'locally appropriate solutions', producing them on the spot and sharing them globally.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology PDF Version
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