Product designers from four Boston-area startups recently met up at Fab@CIC to talk about the role prototyping plays in their process. Up front on the panel were Mariya Sitnova from Emulate (organs on chips), Josh Forman from Confer Health (at-home diagnostic kits), Nick Lancaster from Ecovent (room by room temperature control), and Jason Ray of Paperless Parts (“Kayak for manufacturers”).

It's Hip to Be Fab

Alan Fein, COO of CIC, welcomes the community to Fab@CIC.

Alan Fein, COO of CIC, welcomes the community to Fab@CIC.

Thirty years ago, the great musical innovator Huey Lewis loudly proclaimed that it was hip to be square. Lewis (and the News, of course) invented music that took audiences from 1985 to 1955, and brought them right back. This year, CIC looks toward the future and proclaims a new revolution in hipness. It’s hip to be FAB!

You’re probably asking yourself why I capitalized Fab. Fab Labs – ‘Fab’ being short for ‘fabrication’ – have popped up all across the world over the last few years. In essence, they’re community spaces designed to enable digital fabrication. They’re meant to enable makers and innovators to quickly and efficiently produce goods, prototypes, and models. In the spirit of DIY, you could potentially prototype the flux capacitor for your very own DeLorean time machine within a few minutes.

CIC has Doc’s spirit of creativity; we partnered with the Fab Foundation and the wonderful staff at Render Coffee to make this spirit come to life. We figured that a café and a makerspace would be the ultimate combination of community building. Imagine the great ideas that people come up with over coffee followed by the ability to instantly make prototypes within that same space! So, we set out to do exactly that. It was a journey that took quite a long time, many revisions, and finally launched in early May.

Fab@CIC Grand Opening attendee 3D prints on an Ultimaker.

Fab@CIC Grand Opening attendee 3D prints on an Ultimaker.

Capping off our Arts Week celebration was the best and most fitting way to welcome Fab@CIC to the Boston community. Over 450 people RSVPed and we’d reckon to say it was one of the fabbest events in recent memory. We even had the opportunity to showcase a few very cutting-edge virtual reality platforms and local robotics developers, MassRobotics and Franklin Robotics.

Fab@CIC will permanently feature 3D printers, laser cutters, large format printers, and will also be open to non-CIC members starting at $75 per month. There is a special early-bird deal, too! If you’re new to the world of Fab, rest assured we welcome all levels of dreamers and makers.

If you’re still on the fence after my encouragement, visit Fab Fourth Fridays on the fourth Friday of every month at 5pm in Render Coffee. These are celebrations of everything Fab and will offer the opportunity to network with local makers. Moreover, Fab Fourth Fridays feature demos of the very crafts made in-house. You have nothing to lose and a whole Fab side of you to gain. Be there, or be square! I know Huey said it was hip to be square, but it’s no longer 1987. It’s hip to be Fab!