PubLabs (Public Laboratories) is a project to create a non-profit open Makespace for solving social, environmental, and humanitarian problems. A place where people can work together on pragmatic technical solutions with the potential to greatly enhance quality of life.
Creativity is accelerated when humans collaborate in group settings and share a common goal. PubLabs can provide both. Makers, designers, engineers, and anyone interested can drop by and volunteer their time and expertise in creating a design for a low cost water pump, a solar powered streetlight, or a potato that cures malaria. The goal is to produce a body of open source designs that can potentially help millions. The world community (Global Initiative, UN, Foundations, countries, etc) can and have outlined problems for which people can design the solutions. This is already happening to a certain extent: "Late last year, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) challenged the city’s makers to compete in a year-long New York’s Next Top Makers Challenge." What we think is lacking is an organized ongoing space and community for this kind of activity. We believe that PubLabs will provide the opportunity for socially minded Makers to give back and significantly impact human needs worldwide.
Everything designed at PubLabs will be open license and design documents will be available on a wiki. We believe that sharing of knowledge and ideas will lead to better solutions. Because all the projects will be solving humanitarian problems, the sooner they can be implemented the better.
The maker community, university labs, and brilliant individuals have already shown great aptitude in challenges and competitions to address social needs. We believe that there should be an open space for this kind of volunteer innovation to go on continuously.
A video explanation
Many people want to give back. Millions volunteer at shelters, Red Cross, Doctors for Humanity, Peace Corps, disaster response, and countless other projects. A percentage of the Maker/Engineer/Entrepreneur communities will want to give back, as their behavior demonstrates in Make Magazine and in Online communities. What we feel is lacking is a structured methodology/place/community for them to do the same with a focus on humanitarian giveback. Beyond the Maker community proper, we feel there are many people who would be interested in impacting these problems creatively and technically, rather than through traditional means like volunteering time at shelters and the Red Cross.
The PubLabs project is headed up by Paxton Farrar and Randy Ray, founder of Sun Giant Energy. The project is currently in the incubation stage.
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