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When Tweeting Plant Welcomes Secretary of State

When everything is tweeting around us, plants too can tweet.

Picture this: Business Secretary Vince Cable MP received a ‘tweeting plant’, developed by two local teenagers, when he opened the Fab Lab in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire in the UK.

Rachel O’Toole (14) and Patrik Rabsky (15), used the Fab Lab to design and manufacture their #tweetingplant. It uses a soil moisture sensor and programmable chip to tweet the busy minister @vincecable and tell him when his Fab Lab plant needs watering.

Fab Labs (digital fabrication laboratories) have been introduced to the UK by educational charity The Manufacturing Institute – bringing innovation to the people in a hi-tech community innovation hub.

Vince Cable said: “Centres such as Fab Lab provide local businesses and members of the public with an opportunity to turn their innovative ideas into reality. This is community innovation at its best and has a key role to play in encouraging creative and digital skills in manufacturing. Crucially, it’s helping to introduce young people to the varied and exciting opportunities of a career in industry.”

Business Secretary is presented with a tweeting plant - made at Fab Lab Ellesmere Port by local teenagers Rachel O' Toole and Patric Rabsky.

Business Secretary is presented with a tweeting plant – made at Fab Lab Ellesmere Port by local teenagers Rachel O’ Toole and Patric Rabsky.

The tweeting plant is a classic example of Fab Lab collaboration. Community Fab Labbers can use the facilities for free in return for sharing their ideas among the global network.

Fab Lab volunteer Spencer Marsden first developed a tweeting soil moisture sensor and his idea has been developed by the young people at Ellesmere Port Fab Lab – using social media, open source technology and rapid prototyping manufacture methods.

Julie Madigan, chief executive of The Manufacturing Institute, said: “Fab Labs give everyone – from young children to entrepreneurs and businesses – the capability to bring their ideas and inventions to life. It’s a proven grass roots approach that directly benefits the economy and the wider community. The Manufacturing Institute is leading the roll-out of Fab Labs across the UK.”

Businesses and entrepreneurs can protect their product development ideas by paying to use the service in private. This provides a cost effective opportunity to develop and prototype new products.

Fab Lab Ellesmere Port is a partnership between The Manufacturing Institute, Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Ellesmere Port Development Board, Cheshire Employer and Skills Development (CESD), and Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.

Born from an outreach project by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA, Fab Labs have emerged around the world. Fab Lab made this announcement today, Nov. 1.

Photo courtesy: Fab Lab UK

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