HackLab – March 24th

RepairCafeFeb20151

Our last Tuesday visit was to HackLab. The lab provides a space where registered members can develop their projects while paying a monthly fee to use the lab’s space. My questions were the following:

  • Are members required to credit HackLab if they manage to successfully commercialize a product developed in the lab?
  • What are your future plans to expand HackLab, if there are any?
  • What are the most successful projects developed by HackLab members?

Summary

We were greeted by Eric Boyd as we walked in, and he told us a bit about HackLab and showed us some cool devices, such as a device in the entrance that identifies who’s walking in and greets them accordingly, and also displays the person’s chosen name and personal message on a big screen on top of the room. The main room included computers and 3D printers. We were divided into smaller groups to have a tour around the place. The first room my group visited was a working room with several tools, including a machine that, according to Eric, was used to create plastic objects with smooth curves and edges by pressing two warm plates against each other. After that, we got to see a bit of the kitchen, used for cooking as expected, and later on we reunited with the other group in a bigger adjacent area with a table and chairs that also gave access to the “tree house” (an elevated area that could be accessed through stairs) and a dark room. The area also included a small studio-like space for taking photos of models and specific products. We were then offered a lot of delicious lunch and it was all around a good time.

 

Impressions

HackLab was probably one of my favorite spaces visited during class. There’s something really special about the familiar atmosphere that it gives off, and it has a surprising variety of rooms and things to do and use for what seems like such a small space. The monthly fee per member ($50) seems incredibly reasonable considering the amount of tools the members have access to. I think this kind of initiative is really valuable in the context of the Maker Economy for the way it empowers people to develop their own projects by having access to technology that otherwise might be unaffordable for them. The ambient seems great for people who either like to work alone or in groups, and everything seems very well organized.