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Shared Machine Shops as Real-life Laboratories

The paper applies the concept of real-life experiments and real-life laboratories to shared machine shops. These workshops provide niches for experimental learning that expand the scope of established modes of research and development which are predominantly embedded in professional contexts of industry or science. Shared machine shops provide infrastructures for novel forms of collaboration as well as self-selected participation of heterogeneous actors. We will illustrate our concept with two examples of innovations in shared machined shops: low-cost-prosthesis and open hardware 3D printers. We will show that shared machine shops embody significant properties of a reflexive innovation society, and can be considered as real experiments in themselves in which new forms of inclusion, collaboration, and openness are tested.

The paper can be downloaded here.