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Global FAB Society Consortium
Objectives and outline
Digital fabrication technologies including 3D printers are creating an entirely new society. By connecting to the global internet, an interconversion between "things (material objects)" and "data (information)" is becoming possible, and a portion of commodity distribution is being replaced by data transmission. If circuits are embedded in created "things" to connect them to the internet, digital fabrication can be regarded as a production base for the "Internet of Things".
The internet until now has broadly connected everyone on our planet up until the very corners of the earth. Even if people are located in remote areas, the internet has brought about a social foundation that finely connects supply and demand, production and consumption, and creation and evaluation with those areas. In such a way, the internet is dramatically changing the relationships between corporations and individuals, cities and regions, as well as developed and developing countries.
In the new 21st century global society, the autonomous, dispersed, and collaborative power of the internet further develops widely to the extent that includes a world of manufacturing. We have named this new society "Global FAB Society", and we will be the first in the world to start research on "Global FAB Infrastructure" which is needed for the orderly realization and further development of the Global FAB Society. Our research will focus on three main areas: technology, society, and design.
First, as a technological theme, new standardization activities will be needed in order to closely-couple ICT (information and communications technology) with FAB (fabrication technology) which has been separated until now. The Standardization working group will work in partnership with ASTM, ISO, JIS, W3C, etc. and research on new languages and encapsulation will be made to describe and distribute each manufacturing element (materials, configurations, assembly, finishing, quality control, identification, licensing, etc.). Metadata descriptions for "machine tools" and "factories" will be considered while investigations will be conducted for overseas Industry 4.0 (Germany) and Industrial Internet (GE). Furthermore, in order to ensure the safety of things created using 3D printers, quality evaluation techniques will be developed and widely published to society. These results will be promoted with the goal of international standardization.
Next, as a social theme, international trends of policies surrounding digital fabrication will be widely investigated among both developed and developing nations, and policy proposals for the future global society will be made. The International Strategy & Policy Proposal working group will consider synergy between digital fabrication and open data as well as synergy through partnerships with Creative Commons, and will discuss on the ideal state of sustainable and enjoyable societies achieving both economic and social value, and on the cultures and systems to support such societies.
Finally, as a design theme, discussions will be made on design methods for subsumption that creates value from co-creation. This will not involve conventionally fixed relations between producers and consumers, but rather involvement from various actors. The Design & Inclusion working group will focus on the upstream issue of "what to make" rather than "how will it be made", and will discuss based on case examples on how co-creation between large corporations and individuals can be possible in the future.
This consortium is also active as a place for open discussions for broader industrialization based on the results of fundamental research in the "Center of Innovation on Global Fab Society - for Kansei-oriented digital manufacturing" which was selected by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology COI (Center of Innovation). At the same time, while gathering results from the working group for the three areas of technology, society, and design, this consortium also creates cross-sectoral synergy and develops a vision for "FAB society", the next step after a "web society", as the core of its activities.
Specifically, this consortium holds an annual symposium and creates reports once a year as its core activities, and daily activities are conducted through each working group. Working groups can be established through a combination of academic staff and participating companies with approval from the board of directors. The following groups were planned at the time this consortium was established in April 2015, but plans will be flexibly adjusted in the future.
A. Design & Inclusion working group
Outline of research activity plans (1st year)
Latter half of March: First explanatory meeting for companies & organizations
August 2015: Announce the consortium's activities at the "11th International FabLab Conference (in Boston)"