“We believe that everybody has an inventor in themselves. Men and women. Everybody.” This is the central belief of Labers LAB, a platform that aims to motivate the people of Vienna to become inventors.
Labers LAB provides several activities and services, ranging from (free!) workshops, learning camps and manufacturing guidance to project support and contract development. Its team consists of people with very different backgrounds. Naturally some members of the group previously studied technical subjects like mechatronics and electrical engineering, but also social anthropology and economics backgrounds are represented. “This enables us to create a holistic perspective on inventing” says Manuel Laber, the spiritual father of the initiative. Because their goal is not to just help invent products that people think they might need, but to invent products that actually help society. “If we would be approached with the question of whether we could help creating a device that automatically opens the door for guests when the host pushes a button from the couch, we would not directly say yes. A host would not come to the door anymore to welcome his guests, and one could ask himself whether this is desirable. We would first analyze the social impact of such a device. “
Labers LAB also aims to create sustainable. “We want to design products that people can share, and use minimal resources for its purpose.” The most illustrative example of this is a product that is currently under their development, which enables you to water your plants intelligently: the Nannycan. It consists of a plug-in for a watering can and a bunch of sensors that are put into the flower pots. Every time you will water a plant, only the required amount of water for this particular plant will leave the can. And if one of the plants will need water, a light on the watering can turns on as soon as you enter the room, notifying you it is time to take care of your plants. “The idea behind the system is that through the technology and repetition, you will develop a sense of when to water your plants, and how much water to give them. When you have the feeling you don’t need the device any more to properly take care of your plants, and you can pass it on to the next person”.
The goal to reduce resource usage can not only be found back in their philosophy of how to create new products, but also in their mission to stimulate the re-usage of current products. By showing people how things are made, and to make them think about the complexity of production processes, they want to enlarge the appreciation for commodities that are usually so easily thrown away. “An example I like to use, is a conversation I had with a woman that had just thrown away a stereo. This stereo was fully functional except for the power cord, as it had a knick in it. This could have been fixed quite easily, but instead she chose to throw away the complete stereo. We can change the mindset that causes this resource wastage”.
— Vienna Shares’ advice: Visit the Tuesday evening Labers LAB Meetup. Every week Labers Lab offers a themed free workshop on a different topic, from programming to pottery, to help boost your creativity! —
For more information about Labers LAB and their activities, services and philosophies visit laberslab.com.
By Tomas Kruijer | Photos under courtesy of Labers LAB