© FAB Xpace lab is more than a conventional digital and analog manufacturing. It is an initiative where creativity, ideas and skills mix with the concept STEAM ( For its acronym in English : Science- Technology -Engineer -Arts -Math ) , to generate and implement projects of high impact, through work and provide both individual and multi -disciplinary . We look at each project staff and achieve collaborative acquire, enhance and implement the various skills in all areas involved . To promote research , development and innovation projects from the active , participatory and experiential learning . In short , we are a manufacturing itinerant space where: do we document and disclose , in order to share knowledge , creativity , innovation and experience.
Me: Tell me something about yourself, the team you worked with to build FAB XPACE and why did you build them?
Padilla: The team: Ober Castillo - Electronic Engineer (Student) Jenner Martinez - Architecture (Student) Carlos Pedreros - Educator & Fine Artist (Bachelor) Armando Caballero - Engineer (Student) Pierre Padilla - Electronic Engineer (Bachelor) We created FAB XPACE because we faced the same problem: we wanted to make amazing hardware projects but we didn’t have space and enough tools to make them.
Me: How did you find the funding? And what are your plans for putting up space?
Padilla: As a very committed team, we do everything at our reach to obtain our own resources, being the contribution of each one of us very important for the projects we work on. We also are trying to find sponsors / partnerships to increase our resources to develop bigger projects of high impact. We expect to get some funding by Peruvian government through STARTUP PERU (national competition).
Me: Was building the FAB XPACE community hard? Who is/was part of the community?
Padilla: We met last year (2014) in the Peruvian Biomedical Group, an initiative promoted by Pierre, and later we became members of Open Biomedical Initiative (http://www.openbiomedical.org/). So it wasn’t difficult to launch FAB XPACE because we have worked together before and know how the workflow between each of us. Now we are working with some collaborators as MakerLab PUCP and Instituto de Investigación Nutricional (IIN). What types of equipment did you find you needed and what were the challenges you encountered?
For amazing hardware projects, we needed modern manufacturing tools for personal scale. First we built a Prusa i3 3D printer (in our case we modified the height), it was an exhaustive work to collect and process all the information on the web, get all the components locally in Perú, assemble and make it fully operational. Then we developed a 3D scanner which was designed by us, with almost all its pieces 3D printed. These machines have given us excellent results and proved to be very effective.
Me: What types of projects have you and the FAB XPACE team worked on?
Padilla: Now we are working on making machines that can be folded or have collapsible design keeping in mind that we really need them to be portable because they can be used at any place and in any time: A laser cutter, a CNC milling machine, a new 3D printer designed by us and also update and upgrade our 3D scanner. Besides, we are doing workshops, talks and lectures about digital and analogic manufacturing for academic and professional purposes. One of the most ambitious projects for 2016 is Biomakers Lab (https://www.facebook.com/blabperu). We seek to create one of the firsts BioHackerspaces in Peru. We want that this space enables schools, universities, students, scientists, engineers, artists, anyone who love biology to work in synergy and develop projects for positive impact to Latam community. We are at an early stage yet but we are negotiating with our collaborators from IIN. It will be essential to have some biologists and biotechnologists in our team. Fortunately, we already have the support by Syntechbio (Latam Network of Bio hackerspaces) who has excellent members and advisors. We expect to have the support from National Scientific Council.
Me: What do you see as the future for biohacking in South America and globally?
Padilla: Accessible biology will be the next big leap for research and innovation. South America has people and resources for getting a place in the world but first we must work on building a community and training people. We need to work together as a region. Some years ago, you couldn't find easily biohacking communities because people didn't know about this or your country didn't allow you to learn about it. Today, we can learn different topics through Open Courses and Open Data. I think that 2016 will be a very important year for Biohacking. We will see new biohackerspaces and new people on the stage. The World's governments will have to create flexible policies about Biosafety if they want to see more scientific communities and biotech startups. We are at an early stage in South America as a community but Syntechbio will be the key player in Biohacking Game. Latam will have more presence in Biohacking scenario and scientific production this year. We are going to see how easy will be to build your own thermocycler or a wet lab. More people will get the access to build new concepts and technology in Biology wherever they are. Monopoly will die in some industries and we will decide what is better for us.