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[Originally published November 2015.]

October and November were important months for the glocal Floating Fab Lab team. The project’s focus is shifting from the administrative, planning stage to the application and implementation stage. To that end, they organized a special event in Lima and Iquitos in early November, which several institutions attended, including MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, the Environmental Ministry of Peru, and Fab Labs Costa Rica and Argentina, to learn about the status of the project.

“We are finishing the pre-campaign, producing the documentation, and platforms to promote the project and raise the funding,” Beno Juarez (Peru) told me recently. “Right now we are setting up all that we need for the first version of the Floating Fab Lab.”

In September, the United Nations invited Beno to the Solutions Summit in New York City, where he presented the Floating Fab Lab and met thirteen other inspired innovators from across the globe. UK-based BioCarbon proposes to plant one billion trees a year using emerging quadcopter technology, combating rapid deforestation. Plant OS of Estonia has created a database for the world’s available environmental information, increasing access for citizen scientists. Mechanical engineer princess Abze Djigma of Burkina Faso founded AbzeSolar which provides education and jobs through solar energy solutions.

What an honor for the Floating Fab Lab to be among such projects and initiatives! From the White House article linked above, “The Floating Fab Lab will provide an answer to climate change, production and consumption cycles, and social inclusion, through integrating the latest digital manufacturing technologies with the rich cultural and natural diversity of the Amazon.”

The design team has been hard at work. Fab Lab Argentina organized a weekly workshop from October to December, led by Ilaria La Manna (Italy/Argentina). Thirteen participants explored materials and structures for flotation. Mobility will be facilitated by special docking ports and joints. Ilaria can picture the Floating Fab Lab module replicated on the Belén River in Argentina, a space for “research and manufacturing, and also urban and cultural connection.” SIMA, which appears to be a major industrial shipyard, will build the platform for the Floating Fab Lab.

uAbureau, a collaborative design studio, hosted the five week long international workshop which produced the bulk of the concepts for the forthcoming pilot lab. uAbureau has been active in Fab culture before, building an installation for Fab11, and participating in the construction of the first iteration of the Fab Lab House. Andres Felipe (Barcelona) is studying a masters in Germany in Resource Efficiency in Architecture and City Planning and became involved with the Floating Fab Lab through his Erasmus internship. He supports the project with ideas, sketches, diagrams, renditions, and presentations for the design process of the project.

It’s pretty crazy how this whole project is coming together. It’s a blessing of technology, really, which allows us to all talk to each other across the time zones. Have a lovely and peaceful holiday season.

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