With that particular concern in mind, the Fab Foundation, a leading advocate for digital fabrication education and innovation across the globe, is excited to announce the launch of a new project in collaboration with MITs Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) and supported by Dassault Systmes and La Fondation Dassault Systmes: Fab-in-a-Boxa low-cost, high-impact, digital fabrication kit for education.

Digital fabrication tools and technologies continue to transform our world. They are shaping the future of our workforce, says Claire Dorsett, Fab Foundations Director of STEM Programming for the project. But too often and for too many, they remain inaccessibleoften because of expense. We want to change that.

A compact Fab Lab starter kit, Fab-in-a-Box is designed to reduce barriers to adoption for digital fabrication in classrooms and informal education settings, such as museums and libraries. It does this by lowering the price point to entry while providing a truly turnkey solution. Everything thats needed to get started arrives on a single, mobile cart.

Setting up and running a Fab Lab can be intimidating. So, weve taken care of that for you, explains Dorsett. This kit includes all the infrastructure you need, including built-in material storage and ventilation. You just supply the power.

The cart comes equipped with a commercial laser cutter, 3D printer, and vinyl cutter, as well as an electronics kit to help learners actuate their creationsall for less than $10,000. Implementation guides are also included, along with a collection of scalable, easy-to-follow activities that teach educators and students how to use the machines. These are designed to be inviting, never intimidating.

We’re bridging the gap between product design and fabrication, explains Suchit Jain, Vice President of Strategy and Business Development for SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE WORKS at Dassault Systmes. By making cutting-edge technology accessible to all, were empowering young learners to turn their ideas and dreams into tangible realities.

Over the coming year, the Fab Foundation will pilot an initial set of kits in schools, libraries, and community centers across the US. Learning activities, instructor guides, and online resources are currently being developed to support the project-based learning curriculum. The projects next iteration will take a less off-the-shelf approach, leveraging cutting-edge research from CBA to create a kit of fabricable parts that can themselves be configured into digital fabrication machines. These will, in turn, enable the fabrication and construction of additional smaller, simpler machines; in other words, this is a kit of machines that can make more and different fabrication machines.

The first phase of the maker movement was expanding access to rapid-prototyping; this project now pioneers early steps toward the next phase: rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping, explains Neil Gershenfeld, Director of MITs CBA. Students and teachers can use their Fab-in-a-Box to fabricate custom parts and build machines tailored to their specific learning goals. For example, a math class might fabricate parts to build a cycloid drawing machine, exploring algorithmic programming by assembling its linkages in different configurations.

Connecting the transformative research at the Center for Bits and Atoms and the powerful 3D design tools of SOLIDWORKS from Dassault Systmes with low-cost infrastructure, support for educators, and engaging STEM activities for young learners brings more inclusive and equitable access to STEM education for students everywhere. Were especially excited to provide more accessible pathways to 21st-century career readiness, says Sherry Lassiter, President and CEO of the Fab Foundation. This is a really fun project, and something we’ve wanted to see happen for a long time.

The Fab Foundation is a U.S. non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that emerged from MITs Center for Bits & Atoms. The Foundations mission is to provide access to the tools, knowledge, and financial means to educate, innovate, and invent using technology and digital fabrication to allow anyone to make (almost) anything, thereby creating new pathways to economic opportunity. It is a global steward of the Fab Lab Network, a community of more than 2,700 technical learning and innovation spaces in more than 125 countries.

MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) is an interdisciplinary initiative exploring the boundary between computer science and physical science. CBA studies how to turn data into things and things into data. It manages facilities, runs research programs, supervises students, works with sponsors, creates startups, and does public outreach.

Dassault Systmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, is a catalyst for human progress. They provide collaborative virtual environments to help businesses and people push the boundaries of sustainable innovation, learning, and production