By Ahmad Dialdin
How did they make that, and that, ooh and THAT!
There is a magical place here in Sharqiya where you can turn your imagination’s wildest creations into reality. It’s free and open to the public, driven by the community and dedicated to spreading the culture of invention.
This cloister of creativity is called FABLAB Dhahran, a collaboration between Saudi Aramco and King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals.
There are almost 600 Fab Labs (short for fabrication laboratories) around the world, and we have one right in our very own back yard. In it are passionate technical trainers and equally excited creative people using 3D printers, digital electronics, milling machines, laser cutters, and more to design, prototype, extrude, shape, and build their ideas into actual products.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite projects that people have worked on in this workshop of wonder.
Some old-fashioned woodwork and new-fashioned 3D printing, and voila, table hockey! That is some really smooth work on those paddles.
Sometimes you just want to make something artsy and pretty. I love the detail and craftsmanship with these device covers.
Seismic Sensor Deployer
And sometimes you want to make something science-y and inventive. It’s a fully-fledged robot that knows the best spots to place seismic sensors in the ground. I marveled that someone made such a thing in FABLAB. It’s so intricate and way too smart for me.
Secret Knock Box
This is my kind of security. No passwords or pin codes or trying to remember if I should turn the dial clockwise or counter-clockwise first. It’s a secret knock code; so awesome. People, go to FABLAB Dhahran now and make me a secret knock door for my house!
Airport Snooze Chair
I really appreciate the problem-solving insight that went into this. You’ve got a long layover in the airport, but you can’t get the sleep you desperately need in fear of missing your flight. Enter the Airport Snooze Chair. It’s got a touch screen connected to flight info and vibrating motors in the back of the chair. Sleep to soothing vibrations and be woken up in time for your flight. Brilliant.