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Fab Lab History


Fab Lab (or fabrication laboratory) is a small-scale workshop offering personal digital fabrication – true project-based learning.  Community members as well as students and teachers can create new products using fab lab equipment.  Fab Labs are equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools and various materials, with the aim to make "almost anything".

The Fab Lab program was started in the Media Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a collaboration between the Grassroots Invention Group and the Center for Bits and Atoms, broadly exploring how a community can be powered by technology at the grassroots level.  The fab lab concept also grew out of a popular class at MIT named “How To Make (Almost) Anything.” 

Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway, and now to WCCUSD. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving, to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of machines.

WCCUSD has been chosen by the Fab Foundation as the first public school system on the west coast to develop a Fab Lab, known as Fab Lab Richmond. The establishment of Fab Lab Richmond has been funded by a generous grant from Chevron to the Fab Foundation, with the expectation that our Fab Lab will become self-sustaining after three years, starting in 2017-18. The Fab Lab is housed at Kennedy High School. Fab Lab Richmond serves the WCCUSD K-12 community through class study trips, evening and weekend classes, technical training, and open labs, further developing the ability of Kennedy High School to function as a full service community school. In addition, the development of Fab Lab Richmond greatly enhances our Linked Learning Initiative with a focus on project-based learning and worldwide collaboration through the international Fab Lab Network.  The development of Fab Lab Richmond has created completely new and unprecedented opportunities for our students, teachers, and broader community, and it is an honor to have been selected as a Fab Lab site.