Being a #maker means different things to different people. Some focus on computer-controlled fabrication devices and physical computing. Others on software programming or traditional craftsmanship or digital manufacturing,
FabLabs, makerspaces, hackerspaces gather all those people boasting the most diverse backgrounds, and make the most out of it. They lead the makers revolution: their founders are, often, pioneers of the digital fabrication who wants to pass their legacy onto other soon-to-be makers themselves, so to create a nurturing, self-sustainable innovation environment and to grow local innovation ecosystems.

Same spirit at MakerFaireRome, that convey towards Rome projects, skills and energies from all over Europe (and also from overseas, actually) to boost FabLabs efforts.

At Maker Faire Rome, we see the importance of industry-government-academia in supporting the Maker Movement. Fab Labs, digital manufacturing are good examples of cooperation as their communities involve members from all those domains. They are good place of cooperation between industry, government and universities.

The first FabLab was created in oston by the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and the beginning of the last decade; they started as an outreach project in collaboration with the NSF and have became a global network of places and people that Make (almost) Anything. There are up to 500 Fab Labs in the world, located in different contexts such as: industry, education, social and even government organisations. Fab Labs are not only prototyping spaces; they are serving as a global platform of education and businesses, through distributed manufacturing.  For many years MAKE has been looking closely to the Fab Academy, maybe the largest university in the world: Fab Academy is a distributed campus in digital fabrication, where FabLabs are classrooms, professors are located in different countries in every corner of the world, and students develop weekly projects which will integrate into a final project that will allow them to gain the Diploma on Digital Fabrication certified by the Fab Lab Network. The Fab Academy – which is in its 5th edition this year, with more than 250 students from 50 Fab Labs participating – is directed by Neil Gershenfeld, produced by Sherry Lassiter and coordinated by Tomas Diez.

Beyond the joy of making, FabLabs are offering the compromise with both in depth research on digital fabrication and digital manufaturing and its implications (in collaboration with MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms), and the implications and applications of real life solutions and projects into society. The importance of FabLabs reside in the potential of a global network of manufacturing spaces which share similar ethos, technology and knowledge, making this combination a non-comparable cocktail with other similar spaces.

Fab Labs are developing strong relationships with different companies – like Airbus, Chevron or Saint Gobain; with governments, like the Fab City project in Barcelona or the public fab lab network in Sao Paulo; with international organizations like the World Bank, and many other local communities around the world.

No wonder Maker Faire Rome has choosen a university compound for its 2015 edition. It will be “La Sapienza” – the largest European university, to host the event. The idea is to mark, once and for all, how valuable the maker movement is for the academia environment, too.

And even in the case of more independent fablabs, university can still encourage their students to take part into such FabLabs as a privileged window over prototyping ,co-designing and digital manufacturing.

Actually, FabLabs also fill the gap when it comes to technical skills: makers have to know how to use their tools. Students,  rather often, don’t. Many FabLabs put a lot of effort into bringing those skills to the education system or just allowing access to that knowledge through massive online open courses. In Italy, the number of FabLabs cooperating with education institutions is getting higher and higher every day, and several high schools and universities – from north to south – have established steady collaboration with FabLabs, to complement more “traditional” education.

Wanna know which FabLabs chose Maker Faire Rome last year? http://ow.ly/MU5Ev

Maker Faire Rome

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