There is a laboratory in Porto, open to the whole community, that offers different tools for digital manufacturing like 3D, CNC and Laser printers.
It was for this purpose that João Barata Feyo and José Pedro Sousa created Opo’Lab in 2010 – a laboratory that provides digital manufacturing tools and hard-to-find materials, available at low cost to the entire population.
João Leão, Fab Lab manager of Opo’Lab, explains that Fab Lab concept was created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) between 2007 and 2008 and that there are no reasons to not do something to bring the concept to Porto. “In Porto we have the reputation of being hands on, and we feel that the city of Porto is a top city for innovation besides being a spectacular city to live in. These are two great reasons that attract a lot people to work here in the city.”
There are many people who attend the space, from fashion, design, electrotechnical engineering to mechanics, among others. “Some people use the space to make circuits, others make aluminum molds to use in parts they will need for a machine or for the execution of a machine prototype.”
Currently Opo’Lab has a core of makers, capable of creating solutions and projects that support or even solve problems that the community feels. Education is an area that the project is developing because it recognizes the existence of “many children who are not able to keep pace with this rapid evolution of technologies.” To overcome this, Opo’Lab has joined Viva, a company with extensive experience working with children, and created workshops dedicated to them. The goal is to stimulate children by addressing themes such as design, basic concepts of mechanics, electronics and programming. The goal is also to use the tools that the space offers “to teach children because they are the future of the city of Porto.”
The main challenge for Opo’Lab is to attract more people to visit and use the space. “We want to demonstrate that it is a relaxed space that people can visit, and that the machines are not a seven-headed animal but can be a tool to boost and improve even old projects. You’ll find here a connection between analog and digital.”
Get to know more about Opo’Lab here: