Russia's first certified laboratory of personal digital production - FABLAB MISA (Fab Lab) - was officially opened on April 20, 2012 at the National Research Institute of Technology, MISA (NRIT MISA). The project will allow the representatives of creative young people and small innovative companies to gain access to unique technological platform and prototyping centers, according to the RVC press release.
FABLAB MISA is a joint project of JSC RVC and NRIT MISA.
Creating and launching Russia's first Fab Lab has become possible through the combined efforts of NRIT MISA, OJSC RVC, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Moscow Government. MISA, as one of the leading research universities of technology concentrating both technological and human resources has become the most suitable site for a pilot project, which will be the base model for the sharing the experience of creating Fab Lab. For this purpose the RVC and the MISA signed an agreement for the implementation of which methodological materials based on the FABLAB MISA experience will be created to distribute throughout the country.
The project uses high-performance digital production equipment, with which MISA is equipped under the program of research university development. It will create prototypes of products for small innovative companies. Also, MISA and MIT signed a contract for the supply of standard Fab Lab equipment and obtaining the necessary intellectual property rights. This equipment will mainly be used for entry-level prototypes and youth teams creativity.
Today, start-up projects participants solve the problem of creating prototypes without a system integrator able to solve this complex problem quickly, - says Igor Agamirzyan, OJSC RVC CEO and Board Chairman. - They place orders for the production of a prototype in large enterprises which, as a rule, have no competence in the rapid creation of low-cost models. This leads to high cost and long terms of creating a new item. Fab Lab will solve these problems by creating models using rapid prototyping technology.
Professor Neil Gershenfeld of MIT, the ideologist and the Fab Lab founder opened FABLAB MISA, cutting the ribbon with a Fab Lab laser. The professor gave a lecture on the history and development of personal digital production laboratories and development prospects of Fab Lab in Russia. He and the Fab Lab founders were asked many questions.
Professor Gershenfeld said that much is expected of the FABLAB MISA team: The MISA laboratory is special, it perfectly combines - and it reminds me of my own laboratory at MIT - on the one hand, a great research basis, on the other hand, wonderful experience - they can create things.
That is, the MISA Fab Lab has all chances to become not just an ordinary, although a successful, laboratory, but to take up those functions in Russia that MIT lab performs for the global Fab Lab network. We want to be not only the center of these projects implementing, but also a training center for those who will implement them in other parts - Dmitry Livanov , the Rector of MISA shared the plans for the future.
Although the Fab Lab is a new phenomenon for Russia, some of its functions are carried out by the technical creativity clubs, which are now in need of modern international experience to attract a new generation of young people in the technological creativity. A distinctive feature of Fab Lab network created by Neil Gershenfeldom is the simultaneous use of commercial and nonprofit models, while the technical creativity clubs involve only the non-profit model.
Both approaches will be implemented at the site of MISA. Within the commercial branch the laboratory will provide services for pilot testing of commercial projects producing new products. Interested participants are offered individual services or a full service chain of fast production: Computer-aided Design (CAD); Computer Aided Engineering (CAE); manufacturing cosmetic (mock-up) prototypes, manufacturing of functional prototypes, design and manufacture of tooling for mass production.
Non-profit direction of the laboratory involves the donation of the technological platform for the pilot projects of high school students, inventors and students.
We are now taking part in an event extremely important for the innovation economy of the country, - said Igor Agamirzyan. - Fab Lab MISA is also an educational project aimed at training the staff, which will compete in the global labor market and will determine the image of the economy in 15-20 years. Without the support and training of young talented and gifted children, we will not be able to go into a new world. The implementation of such projects in our country, in my opinion, is a good premise, that the Russian economy will be one of the innovation and technology development leaders.
According to the RVC head Igor Agamirzian, a Fab Lab model will be actively developed in Russia, and will be one of the main resources for human capital formation.