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Vision and Mission
Described by the Foreign Affairs as the digital revolution and by The Economist as a manufacturing revolution, we are witnessing a global phenomenon in manufacturing and fabrication. Today's existing technology allows individuals to design and produce tangible objects, once only the privilege of large corporations who possessed sophisticated machines and designated knowledge. With the help of technology, advanced materials, open source designs and the digital network individuals, households can now have access to machines, designs and products needed for self-manufacturing. This will enable the production of customized products while shifting – at least partly – from the consumption of only mass-production products into a more tailor-made, next-to-your-house manufacturing.
The Cross-Lab Network (XLN) project founded by the Reut Institute aims to place Israel at the forefront of the emerging 'self-manufacturing revolution' which gives digital fabrication technologies such as 3D printers the potential to empower individuals, turning them in addition to being consumers to becoming potential manufacturers.
Together with the Reut team, lead by XLN's CEO, Roy Keidar, two young 'makers', Sefi Atias and Matan Harel, assisted in the initial design and operation by bringing their experience in the world of 3D printing.
The initiative focuses on the following communities:
■ Empowering communities of Makers as future leaders in Israel;
■ Expanding the public’s knowledge of new technologies through institutions, such as schools, colleges, universities, the IDF, and other large institutions;
■ Making cutting edge developing technology available to the greater public, allowing access and opportunity to masses of people, including people with special needs and small and medium size businesses;
The strategy is based on a network of communal technological spaces that is spread across Israel focusing on the geographic and social periphery.
Each space has various machines, such as 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters and additional electronics and hardware. XLN is a community hub that works with people from all age groups (middle school to the elderly), and all professional backgrounds. The spaces operate as inclusive and accessible hubs of collaboration and “open source” spaces for creative entrepreneurship and ongoing learning.
The XLN pedagogy provides a package of tools needed for a citizen of the 21st century – initiating and promoting project based learning which is experiential, collaborative and innovative. This learning process is open to all age groups and aims to promote lifelong learning and create technological literacy.
Progress So Far
The expansion of the network of the communal technological spaces for self-manufacturing across the country: at present we are operating spaces in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, and are in the stages of opening locations in Bat Yam and Upper Galilee. By the end of 2015, we are planning for the network to have 15 active spaces spread across the country.
■ In the Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem locations, there are trainings and workshops on relevant technologies are taking place on a regular basis. Over 14 different types of sessions have been given and the vast majority of the sessions are full and have waitlists;
■ XLN instructors provide lessons on all levels (academic, high school level, and basic for the regular public);
■ Training events that explore the different levels of 3D printing technologies and the Maker’s movement are available at all the XLN spaces and are often requested by different entities from relevant fields in industry, academia, and the IDF;
■ A large cadre of active XLN volunteers who come from a wide array of fields and backgrounds including; working with individuals with disabilities, design, computer programming, and training;
■ Development of an active Facebook page and website;
A competition for design of products for individuals with special needs using open source design and 3D printing. 5 designs made it to the final round and a winner was announced. The competition was put on in cooperation with Milbat, FabLab, and the Rothschild Scholars of the Shenkar Lab project.