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Social Fabrication Laboratory
Date of establishment: November 1, 2012
There are two kinds of distinctive facility that have been experiencing something of a global boom of late, the "Future Center" and the "Fab Lab." Future Centers are intended to be shared by citizens who play a variety of roles in society, and were started to provide locations for communication and discussion toward problem solving. On the other hand are Fab Labs, small-scale workshops offering digital fabrication devices, in which citizens in local communities can take part in fabricational activities.
In this laboratory, we are aiming to create and establish new creative facilities and activity models, exclusive to Japan, through combining these different yet mutually-complementary resources.
Research Outline and Our Goal
As part of our foundational research, we conduct research and development into (1) facilitation techniques that allow individuals to generate ideas in groups and bring them to form, (2) digital fabrication techniques (rapid prototyping techniques) that quickly transform ideas into practice while maintaining freshness, and (3) open design platforms, that allow knowledge garnered on the spot to be transcribed into an appropriate group share format. We intend to promote development through aggressive collaborations with other facilities, including Future Centers and Fab Labs both in Japan and overseas, and utilize these locations for research opportunities, including user tests and field tests to verify research results.
Our ultimate goal is to develop a total platform package, which can provide services related to design tools, design machines and design methods for more community-minded, group-minded and share-minded "social fabrication," and go beyond the well-popularized paradigm of "personal fabrication."
In order to achieve this goal, we plan to mainly promote the following research projects:
In this laboratory, we initially propose launching a Fab Lab for demonstration experiments and prototype development. We will analyze any problems and make improvements, toward the ultimate goal of developing new creative facilities and activity models, exclusive to Japan. Through these activities, we expect to realize systemization of the design process, and generate both niche and outstanding products and the communities of users of those products. This has not yet been achieved through conventional mass-production methods and desk plans, but we believe will be realized through a number of on-the-spot validations.