The Incubator 2.5 project, launched in December 2013, explores a new 2.5D printing technology developed by Canon Océ  and aims to explore its possible applications within the field of architecture.

What sets this printing technology apart from other 3D fabrication is its combination of high resolution image and elevated surface, creating visual perceptions that go beyond its physical elevated height. To explore appplications of 2.5D in architecture, the Incubator 2.5 project is based on field research in Almere as it is a leading city when it comes to self building communities and customization of homes. Therefore we would like to bring in the possibility of customization of building materials with 2.5D printing and create Product Service Systems surrounding these applications. But what stakeholders need to be involved in this? How does this change the role of the architect, and how can we support home-owners in their role as ‘semi-professionals’ becoming a designer directing how their home will be customized?

To kick off this project we visited a city where the future of services is already happning: in Tokyo. Here we saw how fablabs were integrated into society, through FabCafes, to department stores such as Muji that allowed you to customize their products. We also saw how the emergence of ‘semi-professionals’ was facilitated through department stores offering materials and guidance needed for semi-professional fabrication. When we looked further we could see that different companies were using places such as FabCafes as a ‘testbed’ for their technology, studying how users interacted with the technology and what products or items they were producing.

Gathering different people with different backgrounds through new technology and through a ‘making’ process, introduces new innovative relationships leading to new opportunities. For larger technology firms, this could ideally be a great way to explore their new 2.5D printing technology, but how can this be done when the technology is pre-market and information is in ‘lock-down’? When new fabrication technology is developed and its applications are still unclear, what can businesses learn from FabLabs in regards to finding new methodologies for exploring their new technology?

In the Incbuator 2.5 research project we have set up what we call the ‘Super-Maker’. It is a hub for workshops and discussion aimed at experts within various professional fields, using 2.5D printed to spark conversations. Unlike FabLabs, the printing technology itself is not present in the Super-Maker, but the software and the results and outcomes of it are, and the discussions that are held, lead to new ‘orders’ of 2.5D printing that are then presented at the next meeting. In this way we believe that the essence of the FabLab can be used in a strategic way in order to explore technology which is still in development. 


Published: 18-Jun-2014 21:02


PSS 101
  • Learning from FabLabs - Incubator 2.5

    Muji Customization Center Tokyo

  • Learning from FabLabs - Incubator 2.5

  • Learning from FabLabs - Incubator 2.5

    Almere, NL

  • Learning from FabLabs - Incubator 2.5

    Customized houses, Almere