# Future Skills Development

# Exploring System Integration at Fab Academy


The Fab Academy has always been at the forefront of technological education, emphasizing the importance of hands-on, multidisciplinary learning. This year, we proudly continue that tradition with the introduction of a new course: System Integration. Covering the skills needed to integrate various technological systems into cohesive, functional units, this class aims to prepare students for the complexities of modern engineering and manufacturing environments.

# What is System Integration?

System integration is the process of pulling together various subsystems or components into a larger system that functions as a single unit. These distinct parts must work together seamlessly so that the new system meets its intended purpose. This process is critical in fields such as automation, robotics, smart/advanced manufacturing, and many others where diverse technologies must operate in harmony.

# Key Highlights of the System Integration Class

  1. Hands-On Learning: True to Fab Academy’s approach, this class is highly practical. Students engage in numerous projects that require them to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios. From integrating sensors with microcontrollers to building automated systems, the hands-on projects are designed to challenge and inspire.

  2. Interdisciplinary Approach: The course draws from multiple disciplines, including electronics, programming, mechanical engineering, and data management. This interdisciplinary approach ensures that students gain a holistic understanding of system integration.

  3. Cutting-Edge Tools and Techniques: Students have access to the latest tools and technologies in digital fabrication and system integration. This includes advanced microcontrollers, IoT devices, and software for system design and simulation.

  4. Collaboration and Networking: The distributed education model of Fab Academy ensures that students can collaborate with peers and experts around the world. This global network provides the unique advantage of diverse perspectives within a rich learning environment.

  5. Expert Guidance: The course is taught by seasoned professionals and academics who bring a wealth of experience and knowledge. Their insights and mentorship are invaluable, helping students navigate complex integration challenges.

# Why System Integration Matters

In the rapidly evolving technological landscape, the ability to integrate different systems and technologies is crucial. Increasingly, industries rely on complex, interconnected systems to improve efficiency, productivity, and innovation. By mastering system integration, Fab Academy students will be well-prepared to lead in this dynamic environment.

# Real-World Applications

  • Smart/Advanced Manufacturing: integration of robotics, IoT sensors, and data analytics to create efficient, automated production lines
  • Healthcare: developing integrated systems for patient monitoring, diagnostic tools, and medical devices that communicate seamlessly
  • Home Automation: designing smart home systems that integrate security, lighting, climate control, and entertainment systems

# Student Highlight

Gianfranco Caputo, from Torino
In his recent System Integration class, Caputo developed the volLED Board, a sophisticated system designed to visualize sound frequencies through LED lights. His project involved integrating multiple electronic components and designing custom circuit boards to ensure seamless operation. The volLED Board translates audio signals into visual patterns, offering a unique and interactive experience. This project highlights Caputo’s ingenuity and his ability to fuse creativity with technical expertise, while demonstrating the practical applications of system integration in innovative design.

FA Stories

VolLED Board, by Gianfranco Caputo

You can explore Gianfranco Caputo's project further here (opens new window) and here (opens new window).

# Join the Fab Academy

If you’re passionate about technology and eager to develop skills that are in high demand across the industry, the System Integration class at Fab Academy is the perfect opportunity for you. The course is designed to push the boundaries of traditional education and provide a comprehensive learning experience that prepares students for the future.

Information on pre-registration for the 2025 cycle here (opens new window).

By embracing the complexities and opportunities of system integration, Fab Academy continues to lead in educational innovation, empowering students to become the problem solvers and innovators of tomorrow. Join us, and transform your passion for technology into a powerful career.


# Fab Labs 2.0 - Machine Making During Fab Academy

# The Future of Advanced Manufacturing


Welcome to the extraordinary world of machines and mechanical design! Machine Week at the Fab Academy is a pivotal experience for students eager to learn about the mechanics of creation using the latest developments in advanced manufacturing. Throughout this intense week, participants are challenged to push the boundaries of traditional and contemporary mechanical engineering as they design and create new mechanical systems or enhance existing ones.

Innovation and Practical Learning Combined

Machine Week covers a range of core topics, such as 2D and 3D CAD, material properties, kinematics, motion control, and assembly techniques. Students get their hands on some of the most avant-garde fabrication methods, like CNC machining, 3D printing, and laser cutting. This comprehensive exposure ensures that each participant can both conceptualize and construct intricate mechanical components with precision and creativity.

Students from various nodes around the world present their unique machines, showcasing the diversity of ingenuity that the Fab Academy inspires.

FA Stories

Here are some of the standout innovations from recent Machine Weeks:

  • Lake Mac (opens new window): Esky Mate, dubbed "The Laziest Invention," is a quirky testament to creative leisure.
  • ESAN (opens new window) The Carved Gourd Bot blends traditional motifs with robotic precision, offering a cultural twist to robotics.
  • Kannai (opens new window): This unique design features two distinct inventions—the Lone Angler, a solitary fishing companion, and a Pen Plotter Machine that marries the art of drawing with mechanical automation.
  • DGI (opens new window): This 3D Scanner democratizes the technology for creating digital models from physical objects, enhancing possibilities in digital art, engineering, and design.
  • Super Fab Lab Kerala (opens new window): The Cakerator brings sweetness to mechanics while the Cut Urumbu provides precision.

Empowering Future Innovators: The Fab Academy thrives on a philosophy of learning by doing, which is vividly reflected in Machine Week. This program is not just about learning the technical skills; it encourages students to embrace a mindset of innovation and problem-solving. It empowers students to think differently, transforming everyday problems into opportunities for technological advancement and creative expression.

Through real-world projects and global collaboration, Machine Week exemplifies the spirit of the Fab Academy—preparing students for careers and a lifetime of curiosity and innovation.

Join Us

The Fab Academy offers a platform to explore, learn, and innovate across the wide world of digital fabrication and mechanical design. Want to be a part of this vibrant community where education meets innovation in the most dynamic ways? Enroll in the Fab Academy, and embark on a journey where you’ll learn to make almost anything you can imagine!

Pre-registration for the 2025 cycle is open now (opens new window)


# Cultivating Innovators and Entrepreneurs

# Fab Academy: The Hub for Future-Proof Skills

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The accomplishments of the Fab Academy alumni (opens new window) continue to impress and inspire us. Showcasing the wide-reaching impact of the program, these graduates are revitalizing businesses, leading educational initiatives, and making significant contributions in various industries. Fab Academy equips individuals with the skills needed to innovate, lead, and succeed in their respective fields.

Cultivating Individuals With a Proclivity for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Devesh S Nair (opens new window) - Devesh's experience transitioning his family's furniture business in Delhi demonstrates how Fab Academy's practical learning approach can bring innovation to traditional industries.

Pieter Hijma (opens new window) - Pieter's work with the Ondsel team on 3D design software integration demonstrates how Fab Academy prepares graduates for careers in cutting-edge digital fabrication and design.

Fenil Chandarana (opens new window) - With a background in commerce and a passion for tinkering, Fenil's journey from managing a provision store to establishing a makerspace at Flame University in Pune illustrates the diverse paths Fab Academy alumni pursue.

Kiran Wakchaure (opens new window) - Kiran's commitment to improving education for his community led him to establish a Fab Lab at his college, expanding the reach of Fab Academy and creating opportunities for future innovators.

Kishor Gaikwad (opens new window) - After leaving the corporate world, Kishor pursued his passion for STEM education through Fab Academy. He now mentors tinkering labs at Vigyan Ashram, embodying a spirit of lifelong learning and community service.

Vrushabh Zunjurkar (opens new window) - Vrushabh's transition from a scholarship student to a professional in a product design firm demonstrates how empowering the Fab Academy experience can be, particularly for those from modest backgrounds.

Dan Meyer (opens new window) - Dan's role at Argonne National Laboratory as a National Security Technical Assistant is a testament to the value that employers place on the hands-on skills and thorough documentation practices learned at Fab Academy.

Parejiya Jaydeep (opens new window) - Although he was unable to complete the program, Jaydeep's time at Fab Academy led to a career in STEM education, a clear example of how exposure to this novel form of learning can yield positive outcomes, even in challenging situations.

Building the Future

These stories offer a glimpse into the diverse community of Fab Academy graduates who are driving innovation and entrepreneurship worldwide. Each graduate embodies the values of Fab Academy, showing that, with the right skills, resources, and support, there are limitless possibilities for success.

As Fab Academy continues to expand, its alumni serve as proof of the program's success in fostering a global network of innovative thinkers and leaders who are prepared to tackle future challenges with creativity and resilience.

Check what our Fab Academy Archive (opens new window) for more information on past students.


# Exploring Fab Academy's 15th Edition

# A Look into Innovative Student Projects and Global Impact

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Welcome to the Fab Academy's 15th edition! As we eagerly embrace the class of 2024 (opens new window), with a growing group of 236 students and 78 Nodes from 71 countries, we anticipate an enriching journey filled with innovation and collaboration. This year, we are thrilled to introduce enhancements aimed at elevating the student experience and fostering a vibrant learning community. Join us as we delve into the exciting developments and projects within the Fab Academy ecosystem.

# Embracing Education and Innovation

Professor Neil Gershenfeld is introducing a new electronic production (opens new window) technique to this year's students. The process involves composing a PCB design first, followed by creating a stencil using polycarbonate plastic (0.01 inch) and using the low-cost mini CNC LUNYEE 3018 PRO (opens new window) MAX or also with the Cricut (opens new window). These stencils are then stacked on top of the PCB, allowing for the application of solder paste and placement of various components. Finally, a heat gun is used for reflow, resulting in high-quality outcomes.

One of the highlights from this year's program experts is the Blender Parametric Press-Fit Kit (opens new window) tutorial, led by Rico Kanthatham (opens new window) from Skylabworkshop (opens new window) and Santi Fuentemilla (opens new window) from Fab Lab Barcelona (opens new window). This tutorial demonstrates how to leverage Blender's Geometric Nodes to create 2D shapes for Press-Fit Kits, offering adjustable parameters for slot dimensions and number of sides. With this showcase of Blender as a robust Parametric modeling tool, students gain valuable insights into digital fabrication techniques, empowering them to explore new avenues of creativity.

From the students’ weekly development, Bernardo Lamuno (opens new window) from Fab Lab Puebla (opens new window) explores parametric design using Fusion 360 and Blender on his M1 Mac, exemplifying the diverse skill sets cultivated within the Fab Academy program. Through tutorials like "Learn Fusion 360 in 30 days," Bernardo honed his Fusion 360 skills, ultimately choosing it as his preferred tool for CAD and parametric design. His final project, featuring stunning renders in Blender (opens new window) utilizing Cycles and procedural textures, underscores the versatility of Blender, achieving remarkable design outcomes. Bernardo's journey serves as a testament to the combined strengths of creativity and technical expertise nurtured within Fab Academy.

Caption: Bernardo Render in Blender

During the early stages of the Fab Academy program, Edwin Dertien (opens new window) from Waag (opens new window) embarked on a journey of exploration, employing a diverse range of design software to realize his vision. From GIMP for 2D image processing to Fusion360, FreeCAD, Rhino, Grasshopper, OpenSCAD (opens new window), and Blender for 3D modeling, Edwin's project exemplifies the interdisciplinary approach encouraged within Fab Academy. His mastery of OpenSCAD for modeling and Blender for rendering demonstrates the effectiveness of leveraging multiple tools to achieve project goals. Edwin's experience underscores the importance of adaptability and experimentation in the pursuit of creative solutions.

# Fab Academy's Impact: Empowering Global Communities

As we celebrate the 15th edition of Fab Academy, we reflect on the profound impact it has had on over 1,300 students (opens new window) from 105 countries worldwide. With the participation of 216 nodes (opens new window), Fab Labs, and organizations, Fab Academy continues to serve as a global catalyst for knowledge dissemination and advanced manufacturing. By nurturing a collaborative cohort of innovators, Fab Academy remains steadfast in its commitment to empowering individuals and communities worldwide.

Fab Academy stands as a testament to the transformative power of education, innovation, and collaboration. Through a diverse array of projects and experiences, students have demonstrated their creativity, technical prowess, and dedication to pushing the boundaries of digital fabrication. Join us in celebrating the remarkable achievements of the class of 2024 and the enduring legacy of Fab Academy, shaping the future of advanced manufacturing.

Read the 2022-2023 Fab Academy Report (opens new window)

# JANUARY 2024

# Fab Academy Instructors Bootcamp Unveils Future of Learning

2 min read

In a dynamic meeting of the minds, Fab Academy Instructors Bootcamp unfolded January 8-12, 2024 in León, Spain. Over 30 instructors from diverse corners of the globe came together, forging a vibrant global network dedicated to revolutionizing digital manufacturing education.

The bootcamp, hosted at Fab Lab León (opens new window), showcased a rich tapestry of workshops and sessions, shaping the trajectory of the Fab Academy 2024 cycle and beyond. The instructors immersed themselves in cutting-edge technologies, from mastering electronics production techniques like the NEW Quentorres (opens new window), proposed by Adrián Torres, to Lunyee + V-bits, led by Neil Gershenfeld, Henk Buursen and Jean-Michel Molenaar, exploring the intricacies of embedded programming and electronics design.

A pivotal moment during the bootcamp was the Midterm review, where instructors tackled project system diagrams, tasks, and schedules, guided by a vision to elevate the quality and impact of final projects. Neil Gershenfeld, the visionary founder of Fab Academy, added his touch, urging instructors to polish documents illuminating the construction, production, and operation of final projects—empowering future students with comprehensive insights.

The workshops were an exploration of innovation. Instructors delved into realms that define the avant-garde of advanced manufacturing—from the Ferret Pro (opens new window) scanner unlocking new dimensions in 3D printing scanning to workshops on Blender nodes, CAD Sketcher (opens new window) by Rico Kanthatham and Adai Surinach, as well as Modular Things CoreXY (opens new window) by Andri Sæmundsson and Yuichi Tamiya. A special mention goes to the Urumbu Sambot workshop, led by Jani Ylioja, which focused on embedded languages and provided instructors with tools to navigate the complexities of programming languages.

The bootcamp set the stage for a transformative journey. Instructors laid the foundation for a global community of machine builders, pushing the boundaries of open design and collaborative learning. A shared vision for the future of education emerged, in which Fab Academy harnesses 15 years of experience to be a beacon of hands-on, inclusive, and globally coordinated learning.

The Fab Academy Instructors Bootcamp was not just a gathering; it was a convergence of pioneering minds shaping the future of digital manufacturing education. The journey has just begun, and as the vision takes root, Fab Academy stands poised to redefine the learning landscape.

Stay tuned for updates as the Fab Academy 2024 (opens new window) cycle unfolds, bringing a new wave of innovation and skill-building to students worldwide.

Full documentation here (opens new window).

FA Stories


# Calling all Tinkerers, Makers, and Innovators!

Are you looking for an adventure to spark your professional curiosity? Do you want to ignite your passion for learning, making, and doing? Reinvent yourself—and the world around you—at Fab Academy.

Fab Academy is a fast-paced, intensive education program dedicated to the exploration of advanced manufacturing techniques and methodologies. A multi-disciplinary and hands-on learning experience, this five-month course teaches students to envision, design, and prototype innovative solutions through digital fabrication. Since 2007, the program has transformed learners of all ages and backgrounds into active problem solvers building sustainable communities across the world.

“If you empower somebody to produce…it fundamentally changes how an economy works. What are the implications of anybody being able to make anything?”

Neil Gershenfeld Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms & Co-Founder of Fab Academy

Responding to the evolving needs of industry and the demands of modern society, Fab Academy has pioneered a global education movement that challenges traditional approaches to learning. This has resulted in an outgrowth of jobs, projects, businesses, and initiatives by shifting the linear industrial paradigm toward a circular, distributed, and locally productive model. With our globally distributed approach to education, students are first gathered in peer groups at local Fab Labs for interpersonal working sessions. Each regional group is then connected in an online campus for interactive video classes and content sharing with classmates from over 65 distinct Fab Academy nodes around the world. The international faculty gives video lectures, supervises academic content, and guides student research. Hands-on support in the Fab Labs is provided by instructors—experts in their respective fields—who supervise and evaluate certificates, develop and disseminate instructional material, and assist with projects.

Our program is open to students, professionals, and lifelong learners across all disciplines who are looking to broaden the scope of their practice. While some prior knowledge of design, electronic programming, and web development may be helpful, participants from every walk of life are welcome, regardless of experience. To ensure success in the course, however, we ask that applicants be proficient in English, both written and spoken.

FA Stories

# November, 2020

# Check our Fab Academy Alumni Stories...

# Fab Lab Irbid's students talk about their Fab Academy experience

# Marks Calderón from Peru

# Inspiring Women - Alejandra Diaz de León

# Get Inspired with Daniele Ingrassia

Check out more inspiring stories on our Youtube channel (opens new window).

Last Updated: 5/21/2024, 2:18:05 PM