Fluorescent pink key chains may not immediately call to mind "high-tech," but for students in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana, key chains designed and manufactured by their own hands on modern fabrication tools represents the first link from the high-tech world to the world they live in.
"In our first full week, we had classes filled to capacity in each time slot," said CBA program manager Sherry Lassiter, who helped set up the Ghana fab lab. "What is really lovely to see happens in the evenings when the older students and the children are in the lab together. The older students are very generous with their time and gently teach the small children. Peer to peer training seems to be working quite well." Credit: Amy Sun, Center for Bits and Atoms, MIT
In July and August, a team from MITs Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA) deployed its sixth field "fab lab," based on the campus of the Takoradi Technical Institute in the sister cities of Sekondi and Takoradi in Ghanas southwest corner. Members included CBA program manager Sherry Lassiter, CBAs director, Neil Gershenfeld, and graduate students Amy Sun and Aisha Walcott.
With about $20,000 worth of equipment, a fab lab is a hands-on laboratory that provides the technology to let people build just about anything from inexpensive and readily available materials. The goal of the fab lab is to help people use advanced information technologies to develop and produce solutions to local problems.
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In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
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