Mobile FabLab goes to Congress!

October 4th, 2010

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

H.R.6003 - To provide for the establishment of the National Fab Lab Network to build out a network of community based, networked Fabrication Laboratories across the United States to foster a new generation with scientific and engineering skills and to provide a work force capable of producing world class individualized and traditional manufactured goods.


Last week I went down to Washington D.C. for the first time to show off the Mobile FabLab on the Mall in front of the Capitol, together with the Stephenson family (4 siblings under the age of 18, all of who can laser cut better than you), Sherry Lassiter (CBA program manager), Neil Gershenfeld (CBA director), Chris Stuck (FabLab transporter and former Nascar racer), Jonathan Ward and Kenny Cheung (PhD students like me). U.S. Congressman Bill Foster (of the 14th district of Illinois, and also one of the three congressmen with a PhD in physics) is sponsoring a bill to start a National FabLab network:

Establishing the NFLN by passing this bill doesn’t actually do that much –it doesn’t give FabLabs money or start new labs– but it starts a platform from which a centralized FabLab network could raise funds to start more FabLabs. If it passes, the NFLN could organize funding for state-wide efforts of providing schools with fablabs, instead of school-wide efforts to raise funds for one lab. However, the bill is not being passed through the education committee, but through the energy and commerce committee, which is specifically looking to see if Fablabs generate more jobs or make people more employable. If you want to focus more attention on the other benefits of fablabs… write your congressmen!

Finally, some trivia: 6.003 is the MIT undergrad course for learning Signals and Systems. is by nadya peek. she'd love to hear from you.