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Photonic FabLabs – The Next Digital Technology Revolution

Steinbeis acts as partner in an EU project called PHABLABS 4.0

Light is one of those diverse areas of technology that excite people, probably because there are very few areas that photonics cannot be applied to. From energy transmission to energy control, modern travel solutions, food safety, bio-photonics, healthcare, IT solutions, Industry 4.0 (connected manufacturing) and aerospace – photonics can be found in all kinds of areas. The partners of the PHABLABS 4.0 project, which include S2i and FabLab Karlsruhe, would like to raise the public profile of photonics and make it a central long-term feature of FabLabs (short for “fabrication laboratories”). FabLabs enable invention by providing access to tools for digital fabrication to everyone.

Within the Phablabs 4.0 project 33 photonics workshops were organized last year, involving 13 European photonics partners working in collaboration with FabLabs and organizations involved in math, IT, science, and tech disciplines (German “MINT” topics). They also organized 11 photonics Challenger projects and photonics toolkits for different target groups – from schoolchildren to students and young professionals. A website provides free instructions for the 33 workshops and is also available for use by other FabLabs, schools, scientific centers, or even private individuals.

Each workshop lasts between 3 and 5 hours, providing participants with an opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of photonics, including topics like polarization, photonics meets the arts, spectrometry and interference. During the challenger projects, people can even develop their own prototypes. Last summer FabLab Karlsruhe organised workshops and projects for young and old to learn how to make their own solar oven or a Heliostat which can be used as a solar charging device. Further workshops will look at mini-microscopes, a special infrared remote control device for all kinds of electronic equipment, and a photonic piano which can be played with light. A schedule of workshops will be published on the FabLab Karlsruhe website.


Melanie Ungemach
Steinbeis 2i GmbH (Stuttgart)
www.steinbeis-europa.de | www.phablabs.eu/
Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABRHMPEiBIs