Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors
Search in posts
Search in pages

Bhutanese Youth are Leading the Fab Movement in the Nation

Establishment of the Super Fab Lab symbolizes the start of an agile nation with an opportunity to evolve existing systems and processes.
  • Innotech
  • |
  • June 15, 2022

In keeping with the His Majesty’s vision to strategize and create impactful socio-economic pathways through innovation and technology, Druk Holding and Investments Limited, in collaboration with the Bhutan Foundation, USA and the Center of Bits and Atoms from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA recently inaugurated the first-ever Super Fab Lab in Bhutan.

The Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck Super Fab Lab (JNWSFL) is the third of its kind in the world, with advanced capabilities in research and prototyping. The critical infrastructure has been envisioned as a powerful tool to foster innovative problem solving, and provide an impetus to invigorate the local hardware industry through digital fabrication and computation. 

The fab movement, which was initiated by Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, has spread to over 120 countries today. In 2017, Bhutan welcomed the first fab lab. Embracing the movement fully, the lab garnered a vast number of volunteers eager to get their hands on the new technologies. With the establishment of the Super Fab Lab, and the growing network of fab labs in the country, Bhutanese youth are now leading this movement in the nation.

The JNWSFL located at TechPark Thimphu, is managed and operated by the InnoTech Department of DHI. The machine operators at SFL are all trained Bhutanese engineers that come from diverse backgrounds ranging from electrical, communication, and mechanical to network, power, and green tech. Shuttling between the DRIVE Center and the lab, the engineers have undertaken various projects for the department for which the Super Fab Lab is being utilized. Parts of drones for the upcoming project ‘Drone Application in Power Utilities’ and ‘Fixed Wing Drone for Critical Medical Supplies’ will be created at the lab. The printed circuit board (PCB) designs and printed casings used for the Water Management System under InnoTech’s Smart City project have also been developed at the JNWSFL by the project members.

Going beyond theoretical concepts, the lab provides hands-on experience with machines and equipment that leverage modern technology. The machines have been spread across the carpentry lab, metal works hall, heavy machine lab, and laser lab. These labs contain advanced fabrication equipments that include robotics, 3D printing, 3D scanning, imaging, logic analyzer, electronics production, Arduino IDE etc. Interested fabbers looking to join any of the membership programs at the lab will be trained by the Bhutanese engineers at InnoTech.

The capabilities of the lab have been made easily accessible to students, researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, students, and anyone interested in design and innovation. Community members can learn through SFL’s various programs revolving around themes of innovation, economic and social impact, STEM education, and value creation. After undergoing the prerequisite trainings conducted in-house by the SFL team members, community of fabbers can design and create custom products through quick iterations at significantly reduced cost and time.

The introduction of the Super Fab Lab in Bhutan presents an opportunity, and with it, the potential to lay the groundwork for innovation culture in the country. This establishment symbolizes the start of an agile nation, and a chance to evolve existing systems and processes led by the country’s youth for the next generation. With this symbolic significance in mind, the space has been dedicated to His Royal Highness Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck with the conviction that through this, our Druk Gyalsey will champion innovation and lead Bhutan through its next transformation.

English (UK)