Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)
Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Issue 1278, (14 - 20 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

The possibilities are endless

Your dreams may be just a click away, thanks to Fab Lab Egypt, reports Amira El-Noshokaty

Al-Ahram Weekly

Racing cars, robots, miniature jet engines and many more creative ideas built with a 3D scanner were put on display last month at the launch of Fab Lab Egypt in New Cairo.

Fab Lab Egypt is a non-profit and community group founded in 2012 by young people. “The idea was to help turn new ideas into prototype products,” explains Omar Al-Safty, manager of Fab Lab Egypt.

Fab Lab Egypt is a member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Fab Lab Global Network, a digital fabrication lab and community-run public maker-space where anyone can make almost anything, from electronics to furniture and home installations.

Children, college students, entrepreneurs and businesses can develop their ideas in the lab. They can also get together to share knowledge and collaborate on projects and hands-on activities.

“Since 2012 we have managed to hold hundreds of workshops throughout the country, focussing on college students with the aim of helping them to turn their ideas into reality,” Al-Safty adds.

Some 5,000 young Egyptian creative minds have been connected together with amazing results, including robots from recycling material like plastic bottles, a prototype racing car and a miniature speed boat with the motor power of a real boat.“

The technology used is basically an advanced version of a 3D printer. With the right programming, anybody can draw the object they desire and then print it off. The 3D printer reads from the computer and slowly manufactures your latest creation, whether it is a chocolate cupcake, a favourite mug or, like in China now, artificial limbs for people with disabilities,” Al-Safty told Al-Ahram Weekly.

Fab Lab Egypt is all about empowering young Egyptians and boosting the economy by providing technological access to all, explains Ghada Farouk, director of the Giza Systems Foundation, a partner of Fab Lab Egypt.

The foundation’s aim is to support innovative ideas for development. “By amplifying the use of such technology, the sky’s the limit. It could boost small handicrafts such as carpentry, for example, helping the local economy,” she adds.

After renting two premises in Cairo, one in Mohandiseen and the other in New Cairo, Fab Lab Egypt, in collaboration with the Giza Systems Foundation, is decentralising. “Fab Lab Egypt will soon have mobile units in all the governorates,” says Farouk.

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