Kerala CM to launch Super Fab Lab on Saturday


Kochi, Jan 24 (IANS): Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will inaugurate a Super Fab Lab, an incubation centre and a Mini Fab Lab at Palakkad on Saturday.

The Super Fab Lab is based in Kochi and has been built in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

It is billed as the world's first such facility to function outside of the US and has been set up at the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) complex in Kalamassery, near here.

It is expected to allow researchers, innovators and developers to do things beyond the purview of the state's existing fab labs.

KSUM Chief Executive Officer Saji Gopinath said the Startup Mission's collaboration with MIT will also allow Kerala's hardware startups to use the Super Fab Lab and work with researchers of MIT's Centre for Bits and Atoms on an MTM (Machine That Make) project.

"This explores the possibility of using machines in a fab lab to create machines for its own use. In essence, it creates a pathway to desktop manufacturing," said Gopinath.

Vijayan will inaugurate this by switching-on through remote control from Palakkad, located about 140 km from here.

Currently, a standard community fab lab includes a laser-cutter, a sign-cutter, a high-resolution NC milling machine, a large wood-router and a suite of electronic components as well as programming tools for low-cost, high-speed microcontrollers for on-site rapid circuit prototyping.

To this, the super lab adds a set of highly-specialised machines that can do small to mid-volume manufacturing and can also be used for prototyping with a variety of materials including metals, composites and carbon fibres, besides testing, design and fabrication equipment and materials that cover length scales spanning from microns to meters in fabrication size.

The function is being held at the Government Polytechnic College, Palakkad, where Vijayan will perform the ribbon-cutting of the two facilities (an incubation centre and a mini fab lab) that will add to a Kerala-wide network of 20 such establishments that allow students to learn digital fabrication.

  

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