Sherab Lhamo

Themed “Designing Resilient Futures,” FAB23 Bhutan hosted the 19th edition of the world’s largest and most strategic digital fabrication event in Thimphu yesterday. 

Of the 100 proposals received by Fab Lab, 12 teams were selected to develop their prototypes in the nearest Fab Labs—DGI Fab Lab in Paro, CNR Bio-FabLab in Punakha, TTRC FabLab in Sarpang, and FabLab CST Phuentsholing in Chukha.

The prototypes focused on the four pillars of youth and education, technology, innovation, sustainability and community and economic opportunity. 

A team from the College of Science and Technology (CST) showcased their innovative project themed “Aluminium Waste, Gracefully Braces”.  The project is expected to help children with disabilities in improving their posture and walking ability.

Their device called Druk Gi Geyto focused on spine alignment. The team creatively designed the device using waste cans, arranged in a chain-like manner, and inflated with balloons from the outside, to provide support and alignment. In the future they plan on creating a microcontroller through which air can be pumped and released remotely. 

The event featured ideas focused on five challenges—climate adaptive agriculture, water conservation, human wildlife conflict, cultural preservation, and assistive technology in collaboration with five international teams.

Kunzang Choki, a student from Gyalpoizhing College of Information and Technology with seven other international members aims to help farmers in Gelephu grow chillies using their greenhouses shaped with traditional Bhutanese roofs. They incorporated raised planting beds with adjustable drainage for proper ventilation during different seasons. 

Soil detectors, soil moisture, and other sensors were also added to check soil humidity and air temperature directly sending it to the cloud. The data is sent to the app where it can be checked. If the temperature exceeds above 35 degrees the app is notified with a warning message.

Two students of Nganglam Middle Secondary School in Pemagatshel, created periodic table playing cards to create engaging and educational tools for students to learn while playing. They can not only indicate the position of the element but also provide information about its usages.

Yeshi Tshomo, a CST student shared her experience saying that through this programme she got to socialise with different people from around the world and got to share her opinions and perspective, and was excited to learn more from them.

Another student, Karma Yangzom from Nganglam Middle Secondary School said she was in disbelief when their proposal was selected from among 100 proposals. “I think this kind of opportunity will really help students to get ideas and learn a lot from it.”

The event consisted of a diverse range of participants— 40 international and 20 locals—the international participants had applied to the themes that piqued their interest, from which the local team members chose accordingly to provide assistance.

The result for the FAB23 will be announced on July 28.

The event was hosted by Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super Fab Lab, Druk Holding and Investments Ltd, Fab Foundation, and Center for Bits and Atoms.