Conference | Workshop
Floating Fab Lab Amazon
On November 9th and 10th, Fab Lab Peru and EKLA – KAS organized the Conference | Workshop “Floating FAB LAB Amazon: Challenges and Opportunities” in the INICTEL – UNI facilities.
When the word 'Amazon' is mentioned, most people associate its meaning with biodiversity, cultural heritage, ancestral knowledge, remote communities, and disconnection; however, there is a group seeking to add the synonym of 'innovation' to this word. In order to do so, the Conference | Workshop “Floating FAB LAB Amazon: Challenges and Opportunities” took place in Lima and was organized by Fab Lab Peru and the Regional Programme Energy Security and Climate Change in Latin America (EKLA – KAS) of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS). For Dr. Christian Hübner, EKLA – KAS Programme Director, "it is important to preserve basic natural resources for future generations, especially an ecosystem like the Amazon, which is a key element in international climate policy due to its role in regulating global climate". Thus, representatives of public and private sector, scholars, scientists, and professionals from different branches, met for two days to learn and contribute to the development and improvement of the project, which unites the countries present at the Amazon basin.
While currently there are preservation programs for the Amazon forests, these efforts contrast with indiscriminate deforestation progresses in this part of the planet, so much so that this activity represents a considerable percentage of the total CO2 emissions of these countries. Also, Isaac Ocampo from the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP) and Beno Juarez from Fab Lab Peru noted that "there are other problems such as languages disappearance and biodiversity loss, adding to these the advance of drug trafficking, since it usually generates an income for communities seeking to advance and leave poverty”. Faced with a sight like this, reversing the situation seems complicated; however, it is important to remember that the Amazon is home to more than 30 million people and its preservation and its ecosystem services contribute to the sustainable development in the world. Jaime Cabrera of the Ministry of Environment of Peru, stated that "we should not be restricted by borders; we are talking about our home".
Floating FAB LAB Amazon project was born from this challenge: a floating laboratory -built with local materials and manufacturing advanced digital technologies such as 3D printing- which navigates the Amazon River and exchanges knowledge for the creation of biotechnological solutions for the Amazon from the Amazon. Through the presentations of Ilaria La Manna from Fab Lab Argentina and Robert Garita form Universidad Veritas of Costa Rica, research advances about the structure of the boat and the aim for this space to work with 100% renewable energy were shown. So far, the project has been recognized by several international organizations for its innovation involving the Amazon in solutions for social inclusion and climate change, receiving a final recognition for promoting sustainable development at the Solutions Summit 2015 in the United Nations.
Additionally, the scientific sector looks at the project with enthusiasm. One example was the visit of Kate Adamala from the Synthetic Neurobiology Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who highlighted the potential and location of the Floating Fab Lab for the use of synthetic sensors capable of studying and monitoring the state and changes of the resources from the rain forest. While technology is one of the pillars of the project, its location encourages relating to communities located along the Amazon River, who have a shared cultural heritage. This represents a huge opportunity "to implement strategies to safeguard the customs, dialects and knowledge of these communities," said Montserrat Ciges, from the Universidad Veritas of Costa Rica.
To live the experience of digital manufacturing (3D laser cutting, including printing), they visited the Fab Labs from TECSUP and Universidad ESAN, where projects with approaches on developing the technology to implement it in a business plan were shown. At the end of the tour, a network of people willing to work for the development of Floating Fab Lab from their different knowledge and perspectives was reinforced and enlarged; with the aim of giving a new meaning to the word Amazon.
Peru, November 11, 2015