During one week, starting from 2nd July 2014, Fab 10 Barcelona meeting gathered the international Fab Lab community. It was a week full of events focused on open technologies and social innovation. Most of the events were held at Disseny Hub Barcelona.
Atmosphere was thrilling: you could feel the excitement of people around workshop tables, the conviction of speakers at the panels and speeches, the energizing sensation that something not just new but real (and wide-ranging) was growing there. The choices were so many, and related to so many areas, that it was quite difficult to pick out just some. And everybody was there to make the best of the event: not only in terms of knowledge, but in terms of human relationship as well. If anyone has any doubt about the strength of the Fab Labs wave, Fab 10 Barcelona was the place to understand why this is a movement meant to last.
On 5th and 6th July, it also hosted the Fab Festival, a myriad of simultaneous events as workshops, demos, talks and exhibitions with topics like digital fabrication, emerging communities and productive cities.
Saturday started, for us, with Foodini, the 3D food printer by Barcelona-based company Natural Machines. Foodini prints all types of real food as burgers, ravioli or pizza, using fresh ingredients. During their workshop, they presented the printer as a kitchen appliance that can contribute to a healthier eating lifestyle, encouraging people to make their own food but saving them some of the most time-consuming cooking tasks. Foodini printers may also be helpful for professional use. They are on prototype stage, expecting to start shipping units in the second half of this year (2014). Its price will be around € 1,000 ($1,300).
Next we attended the workshop of e-Nable, a global community of makers, engineers, designers, parents and many others who create and design assistive hand devices for those in need. These designs are open source, and can be downloaded and 3D printed for less than $50 in materials, being available on Thingiverse. If you are interested to collaborate, you will find more info on their web site.
During the workshop, Kachina Gosselin and Jon Schull from E-Nable kindly showed us how easy is to make one of these mechanical hands. They also told us encouraging stories about members of the community, for instance a 11 years little girl who knew the project and decided to make hands for other children. They also told us about the origin of the community, which is a beautiful story deserving a separated post. The most touching moment of this workshop happened when a young couple came on stage, looking for an affordable solution for their 7 months child who has a not fully developed hand. E-Nable devices can become a viable alternative to expensive commercial prosthesis, particularly suitable for the growing child.
In the afternoon, “Urban Food & Farming” panel talk gathered to Didac Ferrer Balas from Tarpuna Coop, Hernani Dias from Re:farm The City and Luke Iseman from GrowerBot, talking about the sustainability of cities and the urgency to achieve their food auto-sufficiency. This talk, smartly moderated by Anna Waldman-Brown from Practical Energy Network, showed that the Fab Labs movement is not only about technological change, but also about social innovation.
Tarpuna Coop is a Barcelona-based cooperative promoting urban agriculture and social innovation projects. In a similar vein, the Barcelona-born collective project Re:farm The City develops Arduino-based open tools aimed to help people to create and manage urban farms. By his side, the open hardware project GrowerBot, a Fab Awards finalist this year, helps to create smarter gardens by monitoring and sharing environmental data, allowing people to grow more food with less work. We had the chance to made an interview with Luke Iseman, founder of Growerbot, that we will publish soon.
The speakers panel of “Fab Labs” talk featured Fabio López from Fab Lab Unal Medellín, Cesáreo González from Fab Lab León and César García from Makespace Madrid, moderated by Beno Juárez from Fab Lab Lima. With Fab Labs being such local organizations, it was interesting to listen them talking about the particularities of their experiences. However, all of them revealed something in common: they are all in search of a viable business model. Memberships, services, educational tasks, partnerships with companies… they still need to develop their own models because none of the existing models suit them completely. But in the end, they coincided in the idea of Fab Labs having a promising future, and they are there to help to build it.
Saturday closed with the marvelous digital couture showcase of Fab Textiles + EASTN. Anastasia Pistofidou from Fab Lab Barcelona presented a selection of skillful creators that combine fashion design, technology and wearables. The showcase ended with a performance by Wearable Fashion Orchestra, an amazing dance show where music was generated by the movement of dancers wearing smart clothes.
Much more was to come on later days. Stay tuned for more Fab 10 recaps.