Fab Labs, which began at MIT, could bloom under bill in Congress
The mobile facility, as well as a Fab Lab at the South End Technology Center, are part of a patchwork of some 40 labs around the United States and 80 worldwide. Their fortunes range from well-endowed to hand-to-mouth; the South End one, for example, was short of money and closed to the public for the better part of 2011.
But their financial standing — not to mention availability — could take a huge turn if a US representative from Illinois persuades Congress to create a nationally chartered network for the US labs, to improve their fund-raising abilities, particularly for government money. The measure, which Democrat Bill Foster introduced in March, also calls for placing a Fab Lab in every congressional district.
His goal is, in essence, is to bring the tools of innovation to Main Street.
“It’s very empowering for a young person to actually build something,” Foster said. “Kids no longer take apart automobile engines. You can’t realistically take apart an iPod, like you could a radio. This is giving kids the opportunity for innovation.”
ROBERT STEELE: This is a step in the right direction. What I want to do as soon as possible is integrate education, intelligence, and research under one Secretary-General for National Intelligence chartered to create a Smart Nation, with Center for Public Intelligence in every Congressional district, these would ensure that the three domains are integrated at the zip code level, and would also provide dashboards showing the status of the ten high level threats, the twelve core graphics, and each of the demographics in the district. Taken global by a World Brain Institute, this will implant whole systems analytics and true cost economics at the neighborhood level, and enable both participatory budget decisions and the eradication of fraud, waste, and abuse — all forms of corruption — through transparency, truth, and trust.