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Designing the Future: Effat University’s Fab-Lab

Effat University’s recent launch of the Fab-Lab marks a significant milestone in the Kingdom’s quest for innovation and creativity. This cutting-edge facility is poised to empower the next generation of designers, providing them with the tools and expertise needed to drive progress and shape the future.

As a champion of the design industry in Saudi Arabia, we believe that initiatives like the Fab-Lab are crucial for fostering a culture of innovation, creativity, and design. In this article, we delve deeper into the significance of the Fab-Lab, exploring its potential impact on the future of design with an exclusive interview with Dr. Sajid Khalifa (Head of Design Department, Effat University)

Tell us more about the Fab-Lab initiative, and what was the inspiration behind its establishment?

The initiative was developed from the vision of our president and the founding Dean of the College of Architecture and Design, to have a state-of-the-art facility that matches the international FabLab standard, such as MIT, that provides a space for students and local Saudi community to explore and materialize their dream ideas, using advanced technologies such as 3D printing, laser cutting, and CNC machines; we also have all the manual tools that you will need to develop a physical design. The inspiration behind its establishment was to foster innovation, entrepreneurship, hands-on and community cohesion, to create experiential learning opportunities.

How has the Fab-Lab impacted students’ creativity and innovation since its implementation?

The Fab-Lab has had a positive impact on students’ creativity and innovation since its implementation. It has provided them with a platform to turn their ideas into tangible prototypes, allowing them to think critically, problem-solve, and develop practical skills that are essential in today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape. It also allowed them to iterate their designs and greatly enhanced the project based learning experience.

Industrial 3D printers (total of 18)

Can you share any success stories or projects that have emerged from the Fab-Lab?

Several success stories and projects have emerged from the Fab-Lab. Our design studio, for example; students have designed and developed innovative products, prototypes, and solutions for real-world challenges، Our following students have excelled in their work because of the integration of the FabLab in Their projects:

Educational toy prototype using industrial laser cutter – new brand development by students
Prototype using industrial laser cutter

What are the future plans and goals for the Fab-Lab at Effat University?

The future plans and goals for the Fab-Lab at Effat University include, further strengthen the capabilities, and start offering short courses and workshops to teach the community advanced technologies, collaborating with industries to provide design and prototyping services, and partnering with schools to promote technology awareness from a young age. These long-term visions aim to expand the impact of the Fab-Lab beyond the university campus and foster a culture of innovation in the wider community.

In what ways do you envision the Fab-Lab contributing to the overall educational experience at the university?

The Fab-Lab is envisioned to contribute to the overall educational experience at Effat University by providing students with practical skills, fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, and promoting an entrepreneurial mindset. It serves as a hub for creativity, innovation, and problem-solving, enhancing students’ ability to tackle real-world challenges and empowering them to become future leaders and change-makers in their respective fields. Students are given all the tools that they need to convert an idea into reality, which we all do at work on regular bases… “Ideation to Realization”. 

As Effat University continues to grow and evolve, the Fab-Lab will remain a vital part of its educational landscape, fostering a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and design that will have a lasting impact on the Kingdom’s creative economy.


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