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70 mini Fab Labs to be set up in 9 months in Kerala by KSUM

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The Hindu | M P Praveen | January 18, 2017  |

Kerala Startup Mission gives a push to digital fabrication

KOCHI:  The Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) will set up 20 mini Fab Labs in engineering colleges affiliated to APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) by the end of March followed by 50 such labs in the next six months. Orders have been placed for the mini Fab Labs and the facility is likely to be in place by the end of February. Graduates from the Kerala Fab Academy will be deployed at the Fab Labs within a month. Training had already been given to 20 faculty members who will be put in charge of those mini Fab Labs.

“Our idea is to create a set of people who are good in designing, prototyping, and developing stuff on their own,” C. Jayasankar Prasad, CEO of KSUM, told The Hindu on the sidelines of the third edition of the two-day Fab Asia Network, which got under way at Mattancherry on Tuesday. The fab academy is a world-wide institute hosted in Kerala by the Fab Labs in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Last year, 16 graduated from the academy and are now good enough to be instructors. Fabrication laboratory, popularly known as Fab Lab, is a workshop-like facility for digital fabrication with the help of cutting-edge equipment and machines.

Funds sanctioned

A sum of 10 crore has been budgeted for another 50 mini Fab Labs, for which orders will be placed by March once the deployment at the initial 20 mini Fab Labs is completed. They are likely to be up and running in six months.  “Besides engineering colleges, they will be allocated to polytechnics, arts and science colleges, and to universities in addition to the KTU as well,” Mr. Prasad said. The government will bear the entire cost of setting up Fab Labs in government colleges. In aided and private colleges, the government will meet 50 per cent and 25 per cent of the cost respectively. The KSUM is also planning to run a minor course in digital fabrication in association with the MIT and the fab academy through the KTU. “The MIT is already offering a six-month course in digital fabrication across the world. The idea is to break it down to be completed in a period of over two years without diluting the curriculum,” Mr. Prasad said. The MIT is likely to release the syllabus soon. –  Courtesy

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