In 2012 Creating010 (Peter Troxler, Leo Remijn & Manon Mostert – van der Sar) together with Arnold Roosch started a Fablab in Rotterdam called ‘Stadslab Rotterdam’ The FabLab started from educational needs in Higher Vocational Education in the field of Communication and Media Design, Media Technology, and Computer Science. It can be described as a FabLab+ with an emphasis on electronic and sensor devices, Internet of Things, and Open Data. The lab is a prototyping workshop for students in the first place, though it is also an interface to the city; a creative hotspot open to all citizens which enables co-creation and participatory design. In other words, it is truly a learning environment for practicing, making, cocreation and participatory design skills. The present FabLab provides an infrastructure for experimenting with sensor technology, digital manufacturing, and open data.
In order to fully exploit the FabLab in our design education all students, or at least a critical mass, should be able to use the machines and materials of the lab on their own. Also students need to learn to create and use (physical) prototypes in a safe and confident way. To empower these students we developed an elective course called ‘FabLab: What Do You Need to Make (Almost) Anything’. In this course students were asked to build their own smart object – an object using electronics and programming to create interaction. Using open source technologies students were enabled to build their own working prototype. Students would not build a perfect product, but a series of prototypes that leads to an alpha version of a smart object. Core of the elective is to empower students by teaching them simple processes and using publicly accessible information and technology (open source) to develop prototypes with a minimal amount of time.
Around 250 students followed the course this year. The course was designed by Peter Troxler and Manon Mostert – van der Sar in 2012. After lecturing the course themselves they soon enabled (five) other teachers to lecture the course.
The students are asked to share their alpha prototype on the community of makers on Instructables. This last semester 18 (!) projects were featured by this site. Get inspired by their ideas and get making!
See also the paper Fablabs in Design Education written about this lab and the course (2013)