His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck visited the Startup Center, an initiative of the Department of Cottage and the Small Industry of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, in Changzamtog on 11 April where he met those who work at the Fabrication Laboratory (FabLab).
The King was also able to chat with young entrepreneurs who use the location for different start-ups and businesses.
According to Bhutan’s Royal Office for Media, “FabLab Bhutan is an open-access high-tech workshop, where young people can make custom-made things. The Lab has CNC Machines such as laser cutters and 3D printers to assist in the production of a wide range of products such as woodworks.”
He saw different woodworks and was able to try his hand at a virtual reality system. It has been “designed to facilitate vocational training” and is under development. It is hoped that it will be used in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Institutes across Bhutan.
His visit also allowed King Jigme Khesar Namgyel to view a build-it-yourself laptop with a pi-top executive explaining its mechanics. This laptop is powered by the Raspberry Pi– a single board computer, according to the Royal Office for Media.
“FabLab Bhutan is training trainers to use the pi-tops in creative ways, so that they may, in turn, teach students at various youth centres across the country to use the computers to code, develop software and apps, and create devices,” they further explained.
The King spent time at Dumba 3D works, as well, which is run by Bishnu Prasad Sharma. Sharma utilises CNC Machines in producing various creative crafts like laser etched portraits.
A stop at the Artyanttra Gallery, managed by the artist Sukbir Bishwa, was also on the agenda; there he saw the works of art from 42 local artists.
FabLab’s neighbours in the centre are new businesses which the centre seeks “to support them with mentoring, training, and networking opportunities.”
The Startup Center was opened in June 2018.