A CONVERSATION WITH RUSLAN GINDULLIN. A STUDENT AT UWC AND A VOLUNTEER AT FAB LAB ARMENIA.
Today we are meeting with Ruslan Gindullin, a student at UWC, an international boarding school in Dilijan, Armenia, who has been a volunteer to learn and teach creative programming and digital fabrication at Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation for the past year and a half.
Ruslan has joined the Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation team that is introducing the new digital Fabrication culture and know-how. The Fab Lab is a technology-rich environment operated by Instructors who are alumni of the Fab Foundation and MIT Fab Academy Program. They open the world of 3D design and modeling for quick prototyping. Anyone from age 7 to 107 can come and learn to build almost anything. At Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation, you can learn to be technologically fluent, from building your electronic board to seamlessly using 3D printing, or the CNC, laser cutter, and vinyl cutter machine. Ruslan had found the environment to let his imagination fly and take on small and big challenges.
Ruslan worked on a reverse engineering project where he guided a group of middle school children to design a human-sized thinking, speaking, and dancing robot. They named it Mekho. Mekho. It is made of some 1,020 parts. They assembled and programmed Mekho, then pulled it apart to improve its concept. They did a redo of the design and modeled each piece through 3D programming, laser cutting, 3d printing for each of the hundreds of its components.
The result is impressive and standing in the Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation. The process of this project is impressive because, beyond the reengineering work of learning to design and prototype parts of a complex machine, it moved this group of young people to grow a new mindset that was now asking even more complex questions. Their conversations and thinking started to shift in new directions. The reverse engineering project empowered them to explore ideas about building with new materials. Can we create a new type of skin-like material for Mekho? Some synthetic materials would be solid and flexible; could we even create our own material? The Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation Instructors were positive, yes, when one day, hopefully not too far in the future, we will not only have a Fab Lab like this one but add a “Wet Lab” as well. This will allow us to go from building almost anything to being able to grow almost anything.
Ruslan is always ready to embrace any challenge, small or big. He shows a real passion for new ideas and technologies, as well as creating his programming tools and engineering machines that can build machines. He loves thinking outside the box. This means working hard and with teams connected through a rich network of inventors throughout the 2,500 Fab Labs in the world.
Q: What has been your experience with Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation?
Ruslan: I’ve had a great experience joining the Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation. It opened a world of possibilities for me. Being surrounded by such a fantastic team and access to powerful tools such as 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, and more, I can quickly prototype ideas and create projects that wouldn’t have been possible before. I can produce physical products quickly and affordably, unlike ever before.
Q: How do you see the Fab Lab in Armenia helping students and entrepreneurs?
Ruslan: The Fab Lab is a unique resource for anyone looking to create new products or services. It gives the opportunity to make ideas into reality – from designing to producing physical products. Anyone can come to the Fab lab to learn and gain a hands-on experience with advanced technologies that will help them succeed in any chosen field.
Q: What do you see as the future of Fab Labs in Armenia?
Ruslan: A bright future ahead would have many Fab Labs everywhere in Armenia. As more people become aware of its benefits, they will be able to use them all the time, tap into their own ideas, and come up with solutions for local problems. I’m excited about what the future holds for Fab Labs in Armenia. I want everyone to dare and imagine that soon we could see a Super Fab Lab. This will allow us to build many Fab Labs, one for every school in the country.
“I want everyone to dare and imagine that soon we could see a Super Fab Lab. This will allow us to build many Fab Labs, one for every school in the country.”–Ruslan Gindullin
Q: What message would you like to leave people with?
Ruslan: Don’t let your ideas just stay as ideas in your mind– find a way to bring them to life and make them into something tangible and shareable. The Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation is a great place to start. So, come and enjoy this place for all it can offer and any chance you have! Let’s not forget that anything is possible if you put your mind to it – failure isn’t an option, so keep pushing until you succeed! Good luck!
Through Ruslan’s enthusiasm and vision, we can better understand how Fab Labs can help students, entrepreneurs, and innovators of all ages, succeed in their endeavors. The future of Fab Labs in Armenia is looking bright!
Q: What advice would you give someone looking to use the Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation?
Ruslan: My advice for anyone looking to use the Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation is to take advantage of all it offers, including learning new skills and developing knowledge in areas such as design, engineering, and more. Additionally, please do not be afraid to ask questions or seek help if you need it – the team at Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation is always happy to assist! Working together is actually part of the real fun. Finally, get creative and think outside of the box – with the right tools and the right people to think with, again, anything is possible! Really!
Q: What inspired you to volunteer at Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation?
Ruslan: I saw it as an opportunity to revolutionize how to create prototypes and products, but also as a great way to give back to the community of Dilijan. I wanted to pay forward and share what I have learned about digital fabrication and the fun I have had learning to build complex machines with the local kids. They, too, want to pursue their big dreams regardless of how crazy the world can be and their background or social or economic means. If they want to learn something new, they have it right there through the network of Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation. This is just an incredible opportunity, and I’m so excited to be a part of this new reality!
Ruslan Gindullin’s passion for the Fab Lab in Armenia is evident. His vision has helped bring this technology to more people, giving them access to tools that can help them pursue their ambitions.
Q: What do you think the future holds for Fab Labs in Armenia?
Ruslan: I see a very bright future for Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation. More innovative projects will continue to be created, and as more people access these tools, they will make their economic success. We are already seeing many projects popping up from students and independent individuals all around. This shows the beginning of just how powerful Fab Labs can be. I see no limit to what we can achieve with Digital Fabrication– I’m sure we’ll continue to see amazing projects emerge from the minds and hands of “Fab Labbers.” This brings me to the next point: Armenia is really ready for a “Super Fab Lab” paired with a “Materials Library” so that every designer, innovator, engineer, or tinkerer has access to a vast library of materials to create with and the capacity for machines to build machines to create our tools of the future.
Q: Ruslan, you have gained so much experience and insights studying and working at UWC and Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation while living through the covid pandemic, wars, job markets disappearing, new ones emerging, and more. Sometimes it is easy to forget that you are only 18 years old. Where do you think your inner strength and joy for life come from?
Ruslan: I try to keep everything in perspective. Humor helps me build my resilience without becoming cynical. I think I am quite resilient, and the main thing about it is to think about “what can be done,” not about “what happened.” It is important to assess the situation, but it is more important to see how the situation can be changed for the better. I try to always be on the lookout for opportunities – they come up unexpectedly, and if I pay attention and notice them and be bold to take them – then I can succeed. This is how I see it.
“I am quite resilient, and the main thing about it is to think “what can be done,” not about “what happened.” It is important to assess the situation, but it is more important to see how the situation can be changed for the better. And be on the lookout for opportunities – they come up unexpectedly, and if I pay attention and notice them and be bold to take them – then I can succeed.”–Ruslan Gindullin
Ruslan: How you assess and build up your resilience is important to remember that resilience is something we can all cultivate – no matter the situation! So, take some time to identify what helps you stay strong and maintain high spirits, and ensure it becomes part of your routine.
Ruslan keeps everything in perspective. Humor helps him build his resilience without becoming cynical.
With his dedication and enthusiasm, there is no doubt that the future holds great things for Ruslan. We all wish him the best success possible as he moves on to the next stage of his explorations and Academic achievements.
Jasper AI wrote this article. It is intended to introduce Ruslan Gindullin’s innovative work in the Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation, how he gives back to his community through volunteering, and how he builds his resilience. We hope it inspires others to think outside the box when tackling challenges and stay innovative.
Sources Jasper AI accessed: Q&A by Vazken Kalayjian and Ruslan Gindullin uploaded to the AI. Fab Lab Armenia Education Foundation website https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruslan-gindullin-07a6311aa/ UWC website https://www.uwc.org/ Ruslan Gindullin LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruslanGindullin/ UWC Dilijan is the first international boarding school in Armenia. The Founders of UWC Dilijan are Ruben Vardanyan and Veronika Zonabend. UWC provides its 16–19-year-old students with the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma, an internationally recognized pre-university educational program developed in close collaboration with UWC in the late 1960s. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UWC_Dilijan