Kerala will open two new fab (fabrication) labs this week, comprising a super and mini versions of the technical prototyping platform for design fabrication technology. The super fab lab, made in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is the world’s first such MIT- backed facility to function outside the United States.
"The 10,000 sq ft super fab lab at KSUM’s ( Kerala Start-up Mission) ISC (Integrated Start-up Complex) in Kochi will have state-of-the-art machinery worth over Rs 7 crore," said M Sivasankar, principal secretary (IT), Kerala. Currently the state has two electronic fab labs, functioning at Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. "The super fab lab will allow researchers, innovators and developers to do things, beyond the purview of its current fab labs," he said.
On Saturday, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan will open the super fab lab in Kochi, through a remote switching-on function from Palakkad. He will also inaugurate the mini fab lab in Palakkad, adding to a state-wide network of 20 such establishments, which allow young innovators to learn digital fabrication and experiment with the technology that combines computer-aided design with additive and subtractive manufacturing.
According to Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM, the super fab lab will make KSUM’s ISC one of most sought-after investment hubs in the country, coming as it is, after electronics hardware incubator Maker Village and its biotech counterpart Bio-Nest. "Start-up Mission’s collaboration with Massachusetts Institute will also allow Kerala’s hardware start-ups to use the Super Fab Lab and work with researchers of MITs Centre for Bits and Atoms on an MTM (Machine That Make) project. The first experiment in this direction has been successfully completed at the Fab Lab in Thiruvananthapuram with the creation of a three-axis CNC machine. KSUM is positioned to lead the transition of MTM project from research projects in the lab to fully functioning units," said Gopinath.