Roberto Vdović is teacher at Faculty of Architecture University of Zagreb and president of FabLab in Zagreb, Croatia.
Since 2005, he has been exploring the applications of additive technologies as extension to existing interest and research for 3D modeling and visualisation. Since 2010, he has been researching digital fabrication in architecture, and in 2011 – as one of pioneers of desktop 3D printers in Croatia – he built one RepRap based 3D printer for his students. Again in 2011, he initiated thje funding project for the first croatian FabLab, which was official registered in 2013, according to FabLab Charter.
From the beginning of 2016, Roberto is Make-IT project leader for Croatian Partner Institution, an Horizon 2020-funded project for the maker population.
As far as FabLAB projects are concerned, FabLab is supporting the “eNable the Future” initiative, which research on medical accessories and, also, on Natural User Interface. Another significant FabLab project is “Make-it-in-School”, aiming to support creative way of thinking and STE[A]M design thinking process by using digital fabrication technologies in primary schools.
How did you end up joining the #maker movement?
In 2009. I start research based on Arduino developing boards. First used for dron, then for 3D printer, following some other devices including 3D scanner. Letter, research based on Raspberry Pi is also made. Beside using for drons, 3D pritners and 3D scanners, development is made also on developing Natural User Interfaces.
What do you most value in the innovation/maker environment?
For me, open source philosophy, exchanging and sharing of ideas, tools and skills is most important for collaborative value added of Makers. Second importance is learning by doing, and for me it is important to introduce this to young peoples to make strong paradigm shift from consumers to creative, innovative and productive one.
What’s the maker movement outlook in your country?
Only one official FabLab, but situation is a not so desperate. Very important role is playing public libraries in Croatia. First involved to maker initiative is one in Rijeka, but other city libraries are following with 3D printing and other makers ideas. There are some other labs around, and there are efforts to promote ideas what includes first Mini Makers Fair in Osijek. Makers movement in Croatia is growing.
In your opinion, what features in your city/destination/country is more appealing to an innovation-oriented crowd?
Some of the innovation and ideas by Nicola Tesla are inspiration for Makers culture. I believe in young crowd full of ideas which use makerspace, hackerspaces and fablabs to bring their ideas to live. All regional urban points are interesting to bring together innovation/oriented crowd.
You seem to have been able to create such a nurturing environment around your FabLab/makerspace/hackerspace in (your country). What does your audience look like? Who do you mainly target – students, inventors, or… ?
After organizing annual event, 3D printing open days in Zagreb, capital city of Croatia for third time last year, we bring together, not only digital fabrication technology, but also students, innovators, but also potential users such as representative from various interest groups, like handicap persons, young unemployed, etc. Participants were also from neighboring countries. All togehther more then 60 participants and about two thousands visitors in two days event. Whole event was at university therefore students were significant visitors, but also students from elementary and secondary schools, and general population.
What do you consider your greatest goal as EMW’s Ambassador?
It would be great to have at least one EMW event in each major regional urban areas in Croatia.
What kind of events are you planning to organize during the EMW?
Even our annual event is usually at the end of a year, we would like to bring together same participants to promote Makers culture at EMW. It would be great to bring together more participants from schools because we believe that elementary and secondary schools students should be in focus of EMW promotion to bring their interest from makers idea alive.