Nowadays, workshops at universities are increasing their efficiency by implementing reliable machinery, more professional tools and well trained personnel. As the design process becomes every year more open to more disciplines, fablabs are currently used not only by designers or engineers but by scientists, artists, architects, anthropologists and so on.
If fablabs are the cradle of future innovations then why are its systems so obsolete or non-efficient?
We designed a concept of the idealistic workshop where automation, safety systems and real-time information help every user to have a unique experience during their fabrication or prototyping processes. The process lead to design a system that solves four main drivers:
1. How anyone can learn to use a machine (or a tool)
2. How Fablab managers are confident that users are using tools correctly
3. How tools loaning service can be reliable and efficient
4. How users can reduce stress by implementing simple principles of organization
The whole system was called My Toolbox, a framework of interconnected systems that take control of the machines and help non-expert users become capable to operate dangerous tools. The software also have an inventory of the tools, spare parts, and replacements that are used everyday. That way, the user can select tools from the warehouse and add them to their account for a limited period of time.
When delivered, tools are checked-out automatically by an RFID system so managers can keep track of missing instruments. Finally, the stress problem could be solved by implementing the ToolCart that allows users to transport efficiently a bunch of tools to the work space.