Foster Introduces Legislation To Support Next Generation of Makers, Innovators
Foster in front of a Fab Lab at the White House Maker Faire in 2014
Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Bill Foster (IL-11) and Randy Hultgren (IL-14) reintroduced the bipartisan National Fab Lab Network Act to support advanced manufacturing and invest in the next generation of makers, entrepreneurs and innovators.
Fab Labs are state-of-the-art fabrication laboratories available to the public throughout the country where children and adults can invent, design and manufacture products. The equipment can be used to design anything from tools, to motors, to data networks, to artwork.
The first Fab Lab began as a project of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, and has expanded to more than 450 locations throughout the world.
“We have a great tradition of innovation in manufacturing in America. With a national network of Fab Labs we can empower and inspire the next generation of makers, entrepreneurs and innovators,” said Foster. “I am reintroducing the National Fab Lab Network Act, because as a scientist, businessman and a maker, I believe it’s critical that we work to increase access to tools like these.”
The bill would create a nonprofit entity to establish a National Fab Lab network throughout the United States. This chartered status would be similar to the status enjoyed by the VFW and Little League Baseball.
The goal of the network will be to establish at least one Fab Lab for every 700,000 people, giving students and entrepreneurs throughout the country access to the tools and skills needed to bring their ideas to life. The legislation does not provide funding to the network, but seeks to provide the project with the recognition needed to grow and establish new centers throughout the country.