Neil Gershenfeld, Center for Bits and Atoms Director; Copper antenna elements designed and produced in the Fab Lab; Earlier version of antenna; Cisco’s Kerry Lynn explains the production process
The week’s workshops are divided into four tracks: Beginning Tutorial, Hardware, Software and Operations. They’re planned to give essential new information as well as opportunities for extended group conversations with other Fab Labbers, but they’re happening concurrently. If you’re here by yourself or with just one other person from your org, there’s a good chance you could miss some vital tidbits or moments. I hooked up with Nele from Belgium, Ivan from Portugal and Smari from Iceland to form a “Fab Singles” group. The four of us are at relatively the same stage in getting a lab set up. We agreed to each take on a track and share notes so we don’t miss anything.
Appropriately for me, and for this blog, the first session I attended was wedded to the idea of developing rural wireless mesh networks. Neil explained a concept for making Fab Labs community computing centers residents as far 10 km away from the lab. The concept and fabrication process emerged from different nodes on the Fab Lab Network which goes far toward supporting the assertion that Fab Labs are a mechanism for distributed invention. The key components can be made in a Fab Lab and include thin(ner) client computers and high gain antenna elements. The application power for the thin clients will reside in a server at the Fab Lab, the clients, which only have to to send and receive text, will use Internet 0 delivered over the wireless network to communicate with the Fab Lab server. George Sergiadis and Kerry Lynn guided us through the fabrication process including using the Vinyl Cutter to produce the copper antenna elements
Estimated cost for the thin clinet is $10. $1 – 3 for the antennas.