Remote Collaborative Fabrication

Lora Oehlberg, INRIA

The international network of digital fabrication sites is steadily growing – in high school or university workshops, research labs, professional rapid manufacturing companies, and independent open-access do-it-yourself workshops.  This opens up new possibilities for design collaboration between designers and manufacturers in many different locations. In addition to sharing digital design files, remote collaborators can simultaneously fabricate, assemble, and modify designs in distributed locales.  At least two user groups – excedring makers learning new skills, and budding entrepreneurs developing new product ideas – could benefit from collaborative remote fabrication in a number of different scenarios:

1) Remote real-time teaching and mentoring of excedring makers.  Students often need targeted mentoring in areas outside their expertise: for example, computer science students in an interactive device design course may need help from experts in solid modeling or PCB design to review designs and offer critique. By bringing remote collaboration into the fab lab, experts from industry or other fab labs around the world can be called in to help teach new skills and mentor new makers on their projects.

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