The Fab Foundation Launches Nationwide Effort to Provide Access to Hands-on Learning Opportunities

The Fab Foundation aims to open 10 ‘Fab Labs’ around the U.S. by 2015 with support from the Chevron Corporation, as part of the energy industry leader's recently announced $30 million commitment and call-to-action to support STEM education and project-based learning methods.The announcement was made today during the first-ever White House Maker Faire.

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MIT Mobile Fab Lab

“"Along with launching new fab labs, Chevron's grant will help build the Fab Foundation's capacity to provide access to digital fabrication across the country and around the world," commented Neil Gershenfeld, Chairman of the Fab Foundation's Board.

Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) June 18, 2014

The Fab Foundation today announced that it will open up to 10 fabrication laboratories (Fab Labs) across the country in the next three years based upon a generous grant from Chevron Corporation. The new Fab Labs will be located throughout the U.S. in areas where Chevron operates, including the first two facilities in Bakersfield and Richmond, California. When complete, these facilities will provide approximately 20,000 students and adults hands-on science and technology experiences. This new grant is part of Chevron’s recently announced $30 million commitment and call-to-action to support STEM education and project-based learning methods.

The announcement was made today during the first-ever White House Maker Faire. There, the Fab Foundation and Chevron partnered with the MIT Mobile Fab Lab to demonstrate how students, faculty, tech enthusiasts, and engineers use digital fabrication tools. Innovations shown include 3D Printed guitars, a cargo bike with a mobile solar charging business onboard, Machines that Make Machines, a prosthetic foot for multiple activities, and a desktop stereolithography 3D Printer. And from the younger Makers, a 3D Cardboard construction kit called the Great Invention Kit (GIK) will be given to attendees.

The Mobile Fab Lab is a computer-controlled design and machining fab lab housed in a trailer. This first mobile lab was built in August 2007 by the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The mobile lab includes the same computer controlled fabrication machines found in fab labs world-wide such as laser cutters, 3D Printers, and CNC milling machines.

“Along with launching new fab labs, Chevron's grant will help build the Fab Foundation's capacity to provide access to digital fabrication across the country and around the world," commented Neil Gershenfeld, Chairman of the Fab Foundation's Board. "At the White House Maker Faire we'll be celebrating how makers are using these tools to innovate for the future."

Further, Fab Labs are a critical component of many STEM programs such as the successful programs at MC2STEM High School in Ohio and Mahtomedi High School in Minnesota. Curriculum around Fab Lab tools give students hands-on, applied STEM learning opportunities that cross disciplines. A Fab Lab gives students the tools to develop the practical and critical thinking skills they will need to be the inventors and innovators of the future.

“Few things are more important to our nation’s future than student interest and proficiency in STEM. Through our partnership with The Fab Foundation, we are proud to increase the numbers of students across the country that have access to develop project-based, critical thinking skills,” said Blair Blackwell, manager of education and corporate programs at Chevron. “This partnership underscores our commitment to ensuring that students have the foundation they need to succeed.”

About The Fab Foundation
The Fab Foundation was formed February 9, 2009 to facilitate and support the growth of the international Fab Lab network. The Fab Foundation is a US non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that emerged from MIT’s Center for Bits & Atoms Fab Lab Program. Our mission is to provide access to the tools, the knowledge and the financial means to educate, innovate and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, and thereby creating opportunities to improve lives and livelihoods around the world. Community organizations, educational institutions and nonprofit concerns are our primary beneficiaries.

Fab Labs are not only machines, tools and processes, but also a global community of people who want to collaborate and share knowledge. There are more than 350 Fab Labs in the world today, with another 350 in development in more than 40 countries. The community meets once a year at one of the network's Fab Labs in the world, to share best practices, form collaborations, learn about the state of the art of digital fabrication in manufacturing and research, and to make the personal connections that are so important to building the community. This year’s meeting FAB10 will happen in Barcelona in July.


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