1. Principles and practices

Read the Fab Charter
Sketch your final project idea/s
Describe what it will do and who will use it

The Fab Academy kickstarted this week, connecting 63 nodes around the world using custom open source software and new work processes. The standard process is to understand the relationship between Git and Github where the projects are managed locally and on the cloud using version control.

Git is traditionally known as being a system for non-linear development of version controlled code, created by a Swedish Speaking Finn Linus Benedict Torvalds.

I am hoping to “mimic” the best practices and fundamentals thanks to excellent documentation by our FabLab masters - in this case Krisjanis for all 63 nodes!

FabLab Charter

The Fab Academy is responsible for:

  • Teaching principles and practices of digital fabrication
  • Arranging lectures, recitations, meetings, and events for the class
  • Evaluating and providing feedback on student work
  • Offering clear standards for completing assignments
  • Certifying and archiving student progress
  • Supervising class preparation
  • Reviewing prospective students, instructors, and labs
  • Providing central staff and infrastructure for students, instructors, and labs
  • Fund-raising for costs not covered by student tuition
  • Managing and reporting on the program’s finances, results, and impacts
  • Publicizing the program
  • Promoting a respectful environment free of harassment and discrimination

I am a Fab Academy student, responsible for:

  • Attending class lectures and participating in reviews
  • Developing and documenting projects assigned to introduce and demonstrate skills
  • Honestly reporting on my work, and appropriately attributing the work of others
  • Working safely
  • Leaving workspaces in the same (or better) condition than I found them
  • Participating in the upkeep of my lab
  • Ensuring that my tuition to cover local and central class costs is covered
  • Promoting a respectful environment free of harassment and discrimination

Signed by committing this file in my repository, Ranjit Menon

Final Project Idea

My Final Project is influenced by the work on sound art and media art by the movements such as E.A.T. (Experiments in Art & Technology), especially by sound artists such as David Tudor.

I have been fascinated with Indian spiritual chanting boxes.

  • WHAT WILL IT DO? These Electronic Mantra boxes are essentially boxes with an assortment of mantras to various deities - that are played back in a long loop. Each mantra can last from 5-20 seconds - and the chants are typically played during auspicious times of the day.

  • WHO IS IT FOR? Households and Spiritual practitioners across the world who are into ambient chants for setting a sublime & meditative atmosphere.

Here in this video below, I showcase one such box:

mantrabox_compressed from Ranjit Menon on Vimeo.

There are quite a few companies manufacturing and designing interactive boxes for the local and perhaps, export market. One of them is Radel electronics, an older player in the electronic Shruti and Tanpura device category.

Mantra chanting boxes on the other hand, are a hyper-local phenomena. This makes their production, sourcing & design strategies deeply interesting.

google image examples of Indian mantra chanting boxes


I would look forward to designing an interactive and aesthetically appealing version of the Mantra chanting boxes - that will allow the user to toggle through mantras stored in an SD card - and also allowing the user to record and playback his or her own looped mantras as well.

Preliminary rough Box sketch

I have vague ideas on how the final box would look like, however here is an initial sketch example for the same below:

The box would at its very basic functionality have a speaker and an array of chants to choose from. In addition, it could have more sensors and a microphone to record ones own chants.