The following themes are relevant to consider as drivers of activities and projects of a fab lab.

Digital Inclusion (education)

HFL users take ownership of digital technologies in all its forms, identify their interests and opportunities in their daily lives and develop solutions improving their quality of life and those of their loved ones.

Nowadays it is rare to find a community that does not use digital technologies, be it mobile phones that are ubiquitous even in refugee camps, or the computer in the classroom of a rural secondary school.

Digital technologies take many forms: from the computer (to develop content, to learn, to communicate), to the development of software or embedded systems mixing electronics and software to automate a process, to digital manufacturing using digitally controlled tools (like 3D printers), etc.

Digital technologies can be discovered and learned at any age, through activities such as the production of a functional computer from only recycled parts, the appropriation of digital manufacturing technologies and new manufacturing procedures, the discovery of microcontrollers (Arduino, Raspberry, etc.) to automate systems, coding algorithms and software, etc.


Fab lab sers understand the issues and opportunities related to waste upcycling, to identify potential initiatives in their environment, to improve their quality of life and that of their communities.

Although recycling waste contributes to the preservation of the environment which is in itself an interesting added value, it can also involve so called upcycling of waste by making objects of higher value than the original objects or materials.

Examples include the upcycling of plastic bottles that are transformed into a 3D printing filament, the transformation of truck tarpaulins into resistant and impermeable bags, or the recovery of computer waste components to assemble a functional computer from scratch, Etc.

Rural technologies

Fab lab users understand technological opportunities, analyse the situation and develop solutions to facilitate or optimize everyday tasks and those of their loved ones.

Technologies (including digital) can improve, optimize, or facilitate everyday life in rural areas. Essential areas in the context of sites visited such as agriculture, livestock, health, energy, or the environment can benefit from the appropriate use of technology and digital technology, to improve the quality of life and the environment of individuals, families and the community.

The global fab lab network has a reference fab lab for rural technologies, called the Vigyan Ashram in India:

Other useful references:

Renewable energies

Fab lab users understand the issues, technologies, identify opportunities in their daily lives and develop concrete solutions to improve their lives and those of their loved ones.

Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal... Renewable energies are particularly interesting in remote areas not connected to the electric grid, or where electricity is in limited availability. Developing a renewable energy supply can have a positive economic and ecological impact, improve the quality of life, enable energy empowerment of appropriate technological solutions (essential or simply entertaining).

Digital inclusion (economy)

Fab lab users channel their creativity and digital skills to become actors in the digital economy for increased livelihood, for dignity and self-reliance.

The digital economy is based on the digital technologies and mainly enabled thanks to the development of the Internet. The digital economy (also referred to as the Internet economy, the new economy, or the web economy) enables the development of new forms of livelihood which can be partially or fully independent of spatial and temporal constraints.

In other terms one can be included in the digital economy by providing services or “products” as long as these services or products can be digitised and accessed with or through the Internet.

Examples of livelihood made in the digital economy can include coding of software and applications, designing products or solutions, generating or processing content, etc. Arguably inclusion in the digital economy can benefit communities that are locked in, for example, a refugee camp or in a part of the world that is difficult to leave.