Mcor CMO appointed Director to the Board of Fab Foundation Ireland (FFI)
In the 15 years I have been involved with the 3D printing industry I have experienced real transformation from an industry with few competitors and a technology reserved for the privileged few to an industry that has completely opened its doors to the masses and one with a myriad of technologies for an ever growing number of applications.
One of the milestones in this transformation happened with the explosion of the Fab Lab community. Fab Labs were born from an outreach project by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in inner-city Boston in 2005. Since then Fab Labs have quickly spread around the world. Now there are over 200 Fab Labs from the inner cities of the USA to the villages of Africa connecting people, communities and businesses across the world and enabling them to collaborate, problem solve and brainstorm ideas. Each and every Fab Lab has its own focus, for example shepherds in Norway have used their FabLab to create a system for tracking sheep using their mobile phones, while in Ghana, people have made an innovative truck refrigeration system powered by the vehicle’s own exhaust gases. In Afghanistan, people are fashioning customised prosthetic limbs, while in South Africa a government and business backed project is creating simple internet connected computers that hook up to televisions and cost just ten dollars each.
I was recently appointed a director to the board for Fab Foundation Ireland (FFI). This foundation is part of the 200 lab network around the world. It is indeed a great honour to be asked on to the board of an organisation that has been created to promote the continued development and roll-out of the fab lab concept in communities and institutions across the whole island of Ireland and to provide support to the Fab Labs themselves.
There are now 14 Fab Labs dotted across the island of Ireland, from Letterkenny and Manorhamilton in the North West, through Limerick and Cork in the South West and up the East Coast in Waterford, Dublin and Dundalk (see map below). Since their initial creation, the Fab Lab concept has evolved as a significant cross-border phenomenon and this is very visible in particular labs like those in Belfast and Derry.
FFI is focused on education (promoting STEM initiatives and providing practical space for engagement with STEM activities), enterprise (providing SMEs with cost-effective access to technology for the production of prototypes and concept testing facilities), training (providing practical maker-space opportunities for those engaged in a wide range of training initiatives) and the development of community based social enterprises. I believe that they have the potential to make a significant contribution to the development of an enterprise-based smart economy and the promotion of new technologies within communities and institutions across Ireland.
I am very excited about this new role and being involved in bringing 3D printing and other creative technologies to a whole range of people and communities – this certainly goes hand in hand with our vision at Mcor!