Fab City OS

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Fab City OS

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What is Fab City OS?

The Fab City Operating System is the digital infrastructure for the global Fab City Initiative.
The idea of Fab City is that product developers all work together on digital product designs -
remotely from all over the world.
Meanwhile manufacturing on demand takes place locally -
as close to the customer as possible.
Fab City OS supports this vision by giving financial incentives to product designers and manufacturers -
in the distributed mode of production: the Fab City way.

At the core of the Fab City OS software is an adaption of Reflow OS,
which creates so called design and material passports,
which are crypto-based.
This core technology is combined with open source software such as Fab Access, Git or FreeCAD.
All together, Fab City OS is a software stack that makes distributed production in a Fab City environment more efficient and competitive.
In this rough overview you can see the value chain of distributed production via Fab City OS.

Fab City OS Value Chain

This is what a typical user experience looks like:
We start with a prototype in a maker space, design a 3D-model in FreeCAD and upload it to a public repository.
The software tool MoVeDo helps us to standardise the design,
because it is not only CAD-Files but everything in addition that is needed to manufacture the product later on;
for example build instructions, a bill of materials and so on.
That's what experts call Open Source Hardware Documentation,
but we go with design - for now.
Any individual or company from the global crowd can then make suggestions in order to improve the design,
the initial contributors can decide upon the idea.
Each successful contribution is stored within the design passport.
The E-Commerce store will then take the information it needs to offer the design as a product in their store - automatically.

Each time a customer buys a product in the online store,
all designers receive a share of the price according to their individual contribution stored in the design passport.
At the same time the manufacturing information is sent to local manufacturers located near the customer.
The design passport extends onto a material passport.
The material passport provides information on which manufacturers were involved and what materials were used.
Any Fab City OS user can easily access this information via a unique identifier on the physical product such as an RFID-chip or a QR-code.
The physical product will be matched with the digital material passport later on.
Right after manufacturing, the product will be delivered to the customer.
Since the product's design is public,
its value remains high,
because open source hardware designs tend to be modular and repairable.
Products with life time design will become realistic enabling a longer product life.
Contributing developers will be additionally compensated according to circular economic design principles.
So let's say products that last long, or are easy to recycle.

Whom is Fab City OS for?

Fab City OS has different kinds of users along the value chain of distributed production,
such as small and medium enterprises, designers, corporations, maker spaces,
public administration, hobbyists and tinkerers, innovators, fab labs,
even public waste departments, or e-commerce stores etc.

The end-customer's user experience does not differ from any conventional user experience.
He/she will choose open source hardware products on the market places he/she is familiar with
because they will have a better price benefit ratio.
Therefore, distributed production will successively become the standard without customers needing to change their behaviour.

Why Fab City OS?

There are lots of reasons why we need Fab City OS.
The bottom line is this:
Our mainstream economic model has for once created wealth but has also caused huge ecological and social consequences.
These consequence have already started haunting us.
So the solution for these problems must be as radical as the consequences are.
We are convinced that Fab City OS will provide an effective solution -
it will flip the power relations of the current economic mode of production upside down.


INTERFACER is an acronym for Digital Infrastructure for Fab Cities and Regions.
It is the name of the project in which Fab City OS Alpha and Beta release are being developed until March 2023.
INTERFACER is financed by the Commission of the European Union.

When and where will we see results?

You can follow us and our project development at gitlab.fabcity.hamburg.
Check it out and feel free to participate.
On the long run, Fab City OS shall mainly be maintained by a community of free and open source software developers.

Who is part of INTERFACER?

  • Fab City Hamburg Association
  • Dyne.org Foundation
  • Helmut-Schmidt-University
  • Hamburg Institut für Wertschöpfungssystematik und Wissensmanagement

Last edit on 16.03.2022 at 19:25 h