1. Principles and practices

This week is about getting started. For me this is my third go at completing the FabAcademy. I do truly hope I will be able to complete it this time!

The Fab Charter

The Fab Charter is found here. Over the years since joining this university, I have come to appreciate very highly the FabLab network and the community around it. I’ve been involved in several related projects, including:


I teach a pair of courses called Fundamentals of Biomechanics and Zoological Physics. In the summer semester of 2018, Adriana Cabrera and I combined the laboratory elements of the two courses together and ran them using a teaching model based on the FabAcademy. The course started with the students attending one of the Accessathon workshops in Kamp-Lintfort. The lectures were about sports biomechanics and the use of biomechanical analysis in sports and rehabilitation. The students designed and built assistive devices over the course of the semester which combined biomechanics, design, electronics and mechanics, in a typical Fab way. The most spectacular of the devices was a one-handed ukelele. The students’ websites are here.

Fabrication for Care

During the autumn semester of 2018, Adriana Cabrera, Karsten Nebe and I supervised a group of students building assistive devices as part of their Integrated Project course. The teaching programme was again based on the Fab Philosophy, with a focus on developing wearable devices for people with disabilities. The project is described .


I worked with Adriana and Karsten Nebe to build a physical library of materials that can be produced in the FabLab. The physical library usually hangs on the wall in our FabLab, but we have also taken it on the road, most notably to the Hanover Technology Fair in spring 2018. The digital part of the library is available here. A paper describing the FabMaterials project was presented at Fab14 and is available online here.

Research Methods for Engineers

My most recent teaching assignment in Autumn 2019 was a course which every masters degree includes, but which is usually so completely dry as to bore the students literally into the ground. I decided I wanted to do something different, so I taught most of a FabAcademy, introducing the students to design, CAD, electronics, mechatronics and mechanics as they designed their own bending beam strain gauge testing devices, complete with embedded systems (Arduinos).

Final Project Ideas

My final project this year is going to be a six-legged underwater robot. I’ve described it in the projects page.