Kerala: India's First Super Fab Lab That Can Produce 'Almost Any Machinery' Inaugurated In Kochi
India's first Super Fab Lab was inaugurated in Kochi, Kerala on Saturday, January 25 at the hands of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The lab is built in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT) and is spread across an area of 10,000 sq ft. The Super Fab Lab will have state-of-the-art machines worth more than ₹7 crore, enabling researchers, innovators and developers to go beyond the scope of existing fab labs in the state.
Fab Labs are fabrication laboratories that offer digital fabrication and computation. At present, Kerala has two electronic Fab Labs - one at Thiruvananthapuram and the other at Kochi. The Super Fab Lab inaugurated at the Integrated Startup Complex(ISC) of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) is the only such facility outside of the US.
A Mini Fab Lab in Palakkad was also inaugurated on Saturday, adding to the existing 20 such facilities across the state. The labs enable students, faculty, and entrepreneurs to learn digital fabrication. In addition, an incubation centre was also set up at ISC, making it one of the country's most sought after investment hubs.
The Fab Labs programme was set up by the state government to encourage startups in printed electronics and related fields. The Super Fab Lab will allow the state to produce machines locally and will give India's hardware industry a giant leap.
"This explores the possibility of using machines in a fab lab to create machines for its own use. In essence, it creates a pathway to desktop manufacturing," said KSUM Chief Executive Officer Saji Gopinath.
Fab Labs was set up by Dr Neil Gershenfeld, the Director of MIT Centre for Bits and Atoms, in the US around 17 years ago. He spent nearly a week in the state to supervise the setting up of the Super Fab Lab.
"A Fab Lab lets you make almost anything; make the products you can consume. A Super Lab lets you make a Fab Lab. It is an amazing facility that has the tools not just to make anything, but make the tools that make things," Gershenfeld said in a release by KSUM.
"The state of Kerala is pioneering this investment up in the state of the art capabilities here, to produce the machines locally for access throughout Kerala to let people produce what they consume. That can be for business, education, or art - letting almost anybody make almost anything, breaking the boundaries between the digital and physical," he added.