Utkal Fab Fest 2023 Sparks Innovation and Charts the Future of Digital Fabrication

Utkal Fab

Odisha, 2nd December 2023: — Startup Odisha, an initiative of the MSME Department, Government of Odisha successfully hosted the Utkal Fab Fest 2023. This groundbreaking event marked a significant stride towards integrating Odisha into the prestigious international fab lab network and establishing a state-of-the-art regional world-class all-inclusive Fab City.

The Utkal Fab Fest 2023 kicked off with a compelling keynote from Dr. Omkar Rai, Executive Chairman of Startup Odisha, setting the stage for a day of exploration. Dr. Rai announced plans for a Fab Academy at O-Hub, training 30 individuals for fabrication excellence, aligning with the vision of a Super Fab Lab connecting R&D institutions, fab-labs, incubators, and more. This collaborative hub aims to unite researchers, artisans, students, entrepreneurs, and startups within Odisha’s growing fabrication ecosystem.

In the Fab 2.0 virtual session led by Prof. Neil Gershenfeld, Director of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms and acclaimed as “The Father of Digital Fabrication,” the spotlight turned to Odisha’s brilliant minds. Emphasizing a vision for a thriving fabrication ecosystem, he stressed the importance of actively engaging with these dynamic intellects.He presented a vision to harness Odisha’s abundant “brain power” to its fullest potential, laying the foundation for a future of innovative excellence.

Ms. Sherry Lassiter, CEO of Fab Foundation, provided insights into the global Fab world, community, programs, and reach. The visionary concept of a Fab City was elucidated by Tomas Diez, Co-Director, Strategic Advisor of Fab City Foundation, and IAAC Board Member. Distinguished speakers from the global Fab community, including Luciano Betoldi, VP & COO of Fab Foundation, and Kate Armstrong, Executive Board Member of Fab City Foundation, provided comprehensive introductions to their respective organizations, paving the way for insightful discussions and collaborative endeavours. The event featured workshops on Ecosystem Mapping and Co-creation, conducted by Mitalee Parikh, Program Manager at Fab City Foundation. These workshops aimed to sensitize stakeholders to the latest concepts, trends, and advancements in digital fabrication, fostering a deeper understanding of the needs of the Odisha ecosystem.

Dr. Omkar Rai, Executive Chairman of Startup Odisha, said, “As we embark on this transformative journey at the Utkal Fab Fest 2023, we’re not merely embracing innovation; we’re sculpting a narrative of progress for Odisha. This event stands as a testament to the collective spirit of our community, and I am confident that the echoes of collaboration and ingenuity resonating here will shape a future where Odisha shines as a beacon of digital innovation and inclusive growth.The establishment of a Super Fab Lab in the capital city marks a significant leap, bridging education and industry, propelling us into a transformative landscape of innovation and progress.”

Delegates at the event experienced firsthand visits to R&D centers, handicraft and handloom clusters, and established Fab Labs, gaining practical insights into bespoke fabrication requirements, vital technological interventions, and a holistic grasp of design intricacies. These immersive visits significantly contributed to shaping the groundwork for the envisioned Super Fab Lab at O-Hub.

On the second day, the team embarked on a cultural and artistic odyssey, exploring Odisha’s rich artistic heritage through visits to key clusters: Silver Filigree in Cuttack City, Brass and Bell Metal in Bhatimunda, Palm Leaf Engraving in Khamangasasan, Terracotta in Nuagaon, and Stone Carving in Sisupalgarh. Continuing this exploration on the third day, visits to Applique in Pipili and Delanga, along with Pattachitra in Raghurajpur, provided a condensed yet profound exploration of the diverse artistry that defines Odisha’s cultural, artistic and entrepreneurial landscape.

Utkal Fab Fest 2023 serves as a pivotal milestone in laying the groundwork for Super Fab Labs in Odisha. The event has provided an indispensable platform for assessing the state’s vibrant fabrication ecosystem and engaging with key stakeholders. Attendees have had the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the Odisha experience, contributing to a comprehensive assessment that extends beyond the festival. The insights garnered during this event are instrumental for Startup Odisha to envision and establish customized Super Fab Labs, addressing the distinctive needs of the state.

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