The workshop has been done within the German-Tunisian research project Places of Incubovation (PISWI), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. This project aims at closing technological learning, production, and innovation gaps through the implementation of OpenLabs to test the feasibility and develop policy recommendations for the Tunisian textile sector. From March 22 through 25, 50 participants have built an Open Source laser cutter, an Open Source CNC milling machine and three Open Source 3D printers at the National Engineering School of Tunis (ENIT) - Tunis el Manar.
By promoting bottom-up, grassroots technological and socio-economic development, the project is combining two key concepts: Open Fabrication Laboratories and Open Source Hardware. Thus, the concepts of digital production technologies, sharing and building knowledge in Open-Source networks can contribute to technological empowerment and socio-economic development. To achieve this, the research partners use a participatory action research approach that involves users and potential target groups in the development, implementation, and evaluation phases.
The execution and implementation of the project are carried out in collaboration with local actors from research and industry in the Tunisian textile sector. The research network is coordinated by the Laboratory of Production Engineering/ New Production Institute of Helmut Schmidt University, while the local project management is conducted by ENIT.