Fab Lab Manchester welcomes Royal visitor and Commonwealth leaders
HRH The Princess Royal joined global leaders from 11 Commonwealth countries to see community innovation in action at Fab Lab Manchester on Wednesday 26 March.
The VIP visitors, including leaders from national governments, charities and global corporations, met four ‘Fab Labbers’. The Fab Lab inventors demonstrated how they are using the hi-tech design and manufacturing facilities to develop their own unique products, including a tweeting bird box, a hedgehog house, a model castle, and the Frozen Pi, which creates bullet-time special effects photography - as used in The Matrix movie - at a fraction of the price.
The ‘Fab Labbers’ demonstrated how they are building new skills and gaining creative inspiration from the Fab Lab community. Mark Rome showcased his RomeyD bespoke clothing range - a business he set up using skills and ideas developed at Fab Lab after being unemployed.
The visit was part of the CSCLeaders programme, a partnership between international leadership development organisation Common Purpose and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conferences. HRH The Princess Royal is President of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Study Conferences
The Manchester-based Manufacturing Institute, a leading charity, introduced Fab Labs to the UK when it opened the Manchester facility in 2010, and is leading the roll out of more Labs across the UK, including its Ellesmere Port Fab Lab, opened in 2013.
Julie Madigan, Chief Executive of The Manufacturing Institute said: “It was a privilege to welcome HRH The Princess Royal and the Commonwealth leaders to the Fab Lab to demonstrate how this proven grass roots approach to innovation directly benefits the economy and the wider community. Through the UK Fab Lab network we intend to engage a quarter of a million people in advanced manufacturing and digital fabrication by 2020.”
Marie Mohan, CEO of Common Purpose UK, said: “Visiting Manchester is all part of developing the cultural intelligence of our Commonwealth leaders and their ability to cross divides and thrive in multiple cultures. Fab Lab was a real highlight and the group was inspired by the opportunities this innovation hub brings to all members of the community - from young children to inventors and businesses. It is a place where people can bring their ideas to life, develop valuable new skills and launch new ventures.”
The global Fab Lab movement was born from an outreach project by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA. Fab Labs have exploded around the world. From urban areas, to the villages of Africa, they are networked to enable ideas, designs and knowledge to be shared across cultures and borders. Professor Neil Gershenfeld, Fab Lab Founder and Director of the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT, linked into the VIP event via video conference to share his thoughts on the social and economic benefits of Fab Labs. CSCLeaders is sponsored by BP, Weir Group plc, Glencore, Anglo American, PwC, Powercorp and Crowdicity.
Further information: www.fablabmanchester.org @fablabmcr