Pangloss Labs receives the “Fabrique de territoire” label from the Agence Nationale de la Cohésion des Territoires (National Agency for Territorial Cohesion)

On 22 October, the Minister for Territorial Cohesion and Relations with Local Authorities, Jacqueline Gourault, unveiled the 60 new winners of wave 3 of the "Fabriques de territoires" call for expressions of interest which was launched by seven members of the Government in July 2019. The aim is to support the development of third places in France and help them to become more structured and professional. Pangloss Labs appears in this selection, the only tiers-lieux in Ain amongst 8 others in the Auvergne-Rhône Alpes region. territoire-annonces The first Fabrique de Territoire National Meeting was held on Monday 16th November online, Pangloss Labs participated. Fabriques de Territoires will receive a grant of 150,000 euros over three years to support the start-up of their project, their influence beyond the territory in which they are established, the formation of their team and the search for their economic balance. In this way, they become part of a community driven by the values of sharing, the production of common goods, the experimentation of participatory governance models and the ambition to create social links for the benefit of the inhabitants of their territory. "Facilitating access to a world of possibilities." This is the raison d'être of Pangloss Labs, a non-profit association created in 2014. Creating experimentation and prototyping laboratories to support the creation of local entrepreneurial activities is the mission of the association, based in Ferney-Voltaire in the Pays de Gex (Ain). Thus Pangloss Labs is a collaborative third-space that offers its members several spaces to share and pool tools, machines and workspaces: The Pangloss Labs association has around 100 members with a variety of skills. Among them are professionals (engineers and scientists, designers, creators, artists and various entrepreneurs), but also students, retirees and amateurs. By offering production tools and machines and professional skills that are not available elsewhere in Pays de Gex, Pangloss Labs has a flagship role and thus meets a need of companies, social actors and citizens in the area. Pangloss Labs also provides services to partners, public organisations and municipalities, and works with them on joint projects. Our action plan as a "Fabrique de territoire" includes the development of digital training activity (courses on Fablab's machines and digital expertise and support for members in their activities to fight the digital divide), support for social activities and support for activities working towards sustainable development; increasing the number of members; strengthening communication and external relations; extending the scope in the areas of digital transition and energy transition; and helping to develop the territorial network of third places in the French Genevan area. State support should help us to increase the association's resources and make Pangloss Labs a key third-space in our region.

Pangloss Labs and COVID19

The short version: the fablab is capable of fabricating some medical things locally if neededRead on for details. UPDATE: Working with the Region Rhone-Alpes, we have been supplied with materials for fabricating face shields.  If you are in the Pays de Gex and need some, please make a request at the Visiere Solidaire web site and we'll be in touch Even if our fablab is currently closed, Pangloss Labs members have been studying the possibilities for making the equipment needed to help fight COVID19 in case we are needed. The open source community around the world has stepped up magnificently.  There are a number of groups online, designing and testing different types of equipment. From face masks to face shields to automated ventilators that provide oxygen to patients in difficulty. Designs are undergoing medical tests in Ireland and Spain.  The most active seems to be this one on facebook which has a crowd sourced document on potential solutions and needs for fighting COVID19. We have been solicited by the region Rhone-Alpes Auvergne to tell them of our capacities for digital fabrication and have done so. More than 130 3D printers have been made available across the region. Some people around the world started immediately 3D printing face masks, which is certainly feasible, if a bit slow. However, 3D printed face masks have a number of downsides, not least of which is that filament-based 3D printed objects are difficult to sterilise (not impossible, but more difficult than an injection moulded plastic design) and, of course, they do not conform to national standards.

So what is feasible to do in a Fablab?

We have 3D printers, laser cutters and mechatronics capabilties.  We are not, for the most part, medically trained. We have collected together some of the open source designs that would be feasible to fabricate in our fablab :

3D printed door handle extenders

These are designed to make it so doors can be opened with arms instead of hands - reducing the spread of COVID19. Materialise have created an open source collection of designs for different types of doors. These take 2-4 hours to 3D print.

3D printed door openers

this time so a person can carry it from door to door and not have to touch them with their hands to open it. Thingiverse has a collection of designs. These take roughly 30 minutes to 3D print.


Making filters for facemasks is a simple process of cutting the correct shape from the appropriate filter material. In the event that facemasks and the proper materials are really not available, studies have been done to find "last resort" replacements For cloth facemasks, you don't really need a fablab. Scissors and a sewing machine will work fine.

3D Printed Facemasks

Many enthusiastic 3D printing communities have designed and printed facemasks on the grounds that they are better than nothing. . There are a number of different designs from HEPA filter based, to simple frames for a cloth mask. It's impossible to choose which ones would be useful locally, but if there are clear local needs, there are plenty of open source designs available for us to use or modify.

Face shields

If masks are not available, then face shields can protect medical staff against direct droplet infection - like from a cough. Face shields can be laser cut from clear plastic which is much faster than 3D printing. There are even designs which use A4 plastification sheets.


In a more serious pandemic situation, we could certainly provide small scale production of open source ventilator designs to help patients breathe.

Oxygen concentrator

Reprap has started work on an open-source Oxygen Concentrator.

Valves and other complex parts

There has been at least one case where a hospital in Italy has had valves for reanimation devices 3D printed when they weren't available from the supplier. We have machines in our fablab that can do this.

We are willing to do our part

Our production capacity in the fablab is limited but we have links with other fablabs/makerspaces/hackerspaces around us. To local doctors, the Pays de Gex medical centres, local hospitals, and the Mairies around us we make this simple statement.
"If you need us, we will help".
If any of this will help you, contact us at fablab[at] and we will be in touch to discuss your precise needs. And if it turns out that we have all the medical equipment we need, so much the better, we will stay home like everyone else.

Kit de conversion Vélo H2

Soutenez le développement d'un kit de conversion de vélo H2.

Olivier pedant la Fête de l'Innovation 28 Mai 2019
Olivier pendant la Fête de l'Innovation 28 Mai 2019

Faire un don :

Développement d'un kit de conversion «open source» pour transformer un vélo «classique» en vélo électrique à hydrogène

Il s’agit de quoi ?

  • Nous proposons de développer un kit de conversion «open source» pour transformer un vélo «classique» en vélo électrique à hydrogène.
  • Dans le projet proposé nous créerons une infrastructure pour l’hydrogène au sein du FabLab de Pangloss Labs et nous construirons un prototype de vélo électrique à hydrogène avec des composants « off the shelf».
  • Nous prévoirons la présentation du vélo H2 au Fête de la Science à Ferney-Voltaire en octobre 2019.

Pourquoi ?

Nous voulons inciter l’utilisation d’hydrogène vert par les particuliers et ainsi promouvoir les énergies renouvelables.
Nous voulons créer, dans le Pays de Gex et le Bassin Lémanique, une première cellule de compétence autour de l’hydrogène complémentaire de l’électricité verte.
Nous voulons contribuer à développer la mobilité douce dans le grand Genève, notamment dans un territoire très impacté par les déplacements pendulaires frontaliers relativement courts.

Quels avantages ?

  • Notre kit ouvrira l’utilisation de l’hydrogène à tous et visera une flexibilité permettant de couvrir un maximum de situations de conversion.
  • L’autonomie du vélo sera plus importante que sur les vélo électriques car l’hydrogène permet plus de stockage d’énergie sur le vélo. Elle ne sera d’ailleurs plus réduite par la température extérieure.
  • La recharge est limitée à quelques minutes. La distribution d’hydrogène (cartouches ou gaz à la pompe) reste à préciser.
  • Dans le cycle de vie du produit, les déchets ultimes dangereux provenant des piles sont fortement réduits.

Porteurs de projet et partenaires ?

Pangloss Labs est très engagé dans des projets pour initier l’économie de l’hydrogène, notamment dans le Grand Genève, à travers ses activités dans le cadre d’Open Geneva, sa participation à la Fête de la Science et au Mobility Hub du Grand Genève

Harald Wirth
Klaus Röhrich
Olivier Eugene
Harald WirthKlaus RöhrichOlivier Eugene
Physicien qui rêve de la
transition énergétique
vers l’hydrogène vert
Physicien avec
idées et idéals
Ingénieur passionné
des vélos

Marché et opportunités commerciales

  • Actuellement, il n'y a que très peu de fabricants de vélos à hydrogène, et un vélo H2 coûte près de 7.000 €.
  • Le kit à un prix cible (les composants produits en petite série) bien inférieur à 2.000 € est destiné aux particuliers, mais aussi aux petits ateliers (tiers lieux, ateliers d'insertion, etc.). En plus des vélos de ville, le kit sera utilisable également sur d’autres types de vélos (tricycles, vélos cargos, long tails, etc…)
  • L’opportunité d’affaires importante réside dans la distribution et l’échange des containeurs H2. Avec une infrastructure d’approvisionnement en hydrogène le marché est énorme, regardant p. ex seulement les déplacements pendulaires.
  • L’introduction du kit sous licence « open hardware » aidera à arriver plus rapidement à une taille de marché d’importance pour la production des composants ainsi que pour des services liées.

Nous cherchons 15.000 €

Nous avons accompli des recherches préliminaires, regardé ce qui est sur le marché et visité des entreprises et participé à des salons. Nous avons réalisé la conversion d’un vélo « normal » en vélo électrique, en « hackant » des pièces disponibles dans le commerce (p. ex pour outils de jardin).

Les fonds nous permettrons d’aboutir, dans une année, à un prototype d’un vélo à hydrogène suivant les étapes suivantes :

  • Création d’une espace chez Pangloss Labs pour travailler avec de l’hydrogène, équipement de maniement des gaz et électronique de contrôle
  • Ajout d’un conteneur d'hydrogène et une pile à combustible au vélo. En ce qui concerne le conteneur H2 et la PAC, nous envisageons une collaboration avec des entreprises spécialisées.
  • Simulations (p. ex modélisation sur OpenModelica) pour dimensionner le système optimal.
  • Construction du vélo, optimisation des composants (impression 3d, assemblage dédié de la batterie tampon et de la pile à combustible, etc.)
  • Démonstration du prototype. A ce stade, un premier produit utilisable devrait être disponible sous licence ouverte, en utilisant des composants disponibles dans le commerce, des pièces imprimées 3d et des logiciels spécifiques.

Les récompenses

Tous donateurs seront mentionnés dans les publications du projet et invités lors d’une démonstration publique. Vous êtes tenus au courant des développements, événements et plus encore !

Vous recevrez également une message sur nos médias sociaux pour montrer au monde entier à quel point vous êtes un être humain conscient et généreux !

  • Pour 10 € ou plus : Une minute sur le vélo à hydrogène lors d’une démonstration publique et votre nom mentionné dans nos publications.
  • Pour 100 € ou plus : Votre photo sur nos publications, particulièrement dans nos pages WWW et Facebook.
  • Pour 500 € ou plus : Vous serez invité.e d’honneur lors de la première démonstration publique.
  • Les entreprises ou sponsors donnant 1.000 € ou plus verront leur logo affiché dans nos publications ainsi que lors des présentations.

Faire un don :

The H2 Bicycle – A Step Towards A Cleaner Future

During the Open Geneva Innovation Festival 2018 a group of Pangloss members and others assembled to think about how to introduce hydrogen as a clean energy vector in our society. Various ideas were aired. A condensation took place for the Fête de la Science in Ferney-Voltaire half a year later. One of the concepts put forward was that of bringing hydrogen bicycles to the people. Two workshops (hackathons) on the subject followed in January and March 2019.

The hydrogen powered electric bicycle (HPEB) is not a new idea. Already 20 years ago such vehicles were constructed, but they were never made available to the common person, not to talk about production in series. The latest version, the Alpha bike of French company Pragma Industries is produced in batches of a hundred units and distributed to users, usually organizations, who can afford the rather hefty price of the bicycle of the order of 7'000 euros and the massive cost of a refilling station upwards of 50'000 euros.

At Pangloss Labs we have the idea to make all this cheaper with the goal to enable everybody profitting from green energy and clean hydrogen thus making a measurable contribution to a more sustainable world.

Harald, a member of Pangloss Labs next to the Alpha hydrogen bike of Pragma Industries at BePositive Expo Lyon 2019.

Our concept turns around the creation of a kit for converting normal bicycles into hydrogen powered electric bicycles (HPEB). Such kits should be cheap. The HPEB should not cost more than the equivalent electric bike but - and this will be the major advantage for the cyclist - with much larger autonomy. We think that eventually we can store 50 grams of hydrogen on the bike, which is equivalent to 750 Wh using a decent fuelcell, 50% more energy than typically stored on an electric bicycle. Bigger hydrogen containers and more efficient fuel cells will soon bring the advantage to 100% doubling the autonomy.

The crew in the Pangloss FabLab at Ferney-Voltaire on their way installing the electric motor and other components on the bike on 23 March 2019.

All the best for 2018 !

Dear Pangloss friends; 2017 has been a good year for me and I am hoping also a good year for you and your loved ones. I am happy with the Pangloss performance and at the same time recognise that there are areas that we need to improve on. Many milestones have been reached by each lab, by each commission and by many projects and congratulations to all for this. We have also had many successful training sessions, workshops, aperos, speeddatings and events and so I can go on. Many of you have spent much time in our innovation space, and each time we see each other at Pangloss, there is a spark, there is an idea, there is a concept in the air, which may one day become a co-creation opportunity. We welcomed many new members in 2017 and thank you to all for making them feel at home. It has been great having new perspectives come on board. Each one of us need to manage this work life balance more carefully as no success can compensate for failure in the home. I have enjoyed working with each one of you and have come to know almost each of you personally. This has been a highlight in itself. Another highlight has been the Fete de la Science, with a record number of visitors and animations. It is sad when some of our team members have to leave particularly when it is because of a professional move to Marseille, to San Francisco, to Africa, to the Vosges or because of some other personal circumstances. Luckily enough some of them are coming back !!! I wish to thank all of you for your continued support and dedication to Pangloss. I wish to thank our bureau for their decisions, our Conseil d’Administration for their propositions and tradeoffs, our Conciergerie for welcoming new members with a smile everyday and for their great support in having such a wonderful hypercreativity space and ecological fablab, open for everyone. We are proud that this space is so open, so unique, so creative and so inclusive. Congratulations to the Pangloss members who won awards this year (Concours Lepine, Trip to Brussels for Economie Circulaire, CES 2018 Nomination…). We will have the opportunity to share with you all the numbers during our next General Assembly. We are confident they will look good. I wish all of you a wonderful end of the year and a happy and prosperous 2018. Let’s make 2018 a fun, successful and value adding year that changes the lives of people for the positive. Let not that which matters the most be affected by that which matters the least. Yves

Closing the loop: Innovation for a Circular Economy

On Wednesday 6th December, 2017, Paul Bristow represented Pangloss Labs along with 5 other startups with innovations in the circular economy in Brussels .  We were chosen from across all of the EU to participate in a high-level policy discussion at the European Parliament, hosted by Nespresso and the EU40. MEPs Franc Bogovic (EPP, Slovenia) and Davor Skrlec (Greens/EFA, Croatia) hosted the roundtable debate preceded by six start-ups that pitched their innovations and spice up the discussion. (more…)

Fête de la Science 2017

Pangloss Labs and the City of Ferney-Voltaire organize in partnership the Science Fair in the Pays de Gex on Saturday 14 October 2017

 La Fête de la Science

Created in 1991 at the initiative of Hubert Curien, then Minister of Research, the "Fete de la Science", which became a national event, aims to bring citizens closer to science. Each year throughout France, hundreds of actors offer free workshops, conferences, screenings, exhibitions, open their laboratory, discover the cultural and scientific heritage of the territory. From biodiversity to mathematics to the sciences of the universe, but also from human and social sciences, this event aims to represent all scientific domains and to make the world of science free to the public. Throughout France, the Science Fair takes place from 7 to 15 October 2017. For this 26th edition, the 2,500 participating municipalities propose stands and animations around the theme "Ideas received and critical spirit"

The Fête de la Science in the Pays de Gex, Saturday 14 October

In partnership with the Ferney-Voltaire Mairie, Pangloss Labs is organising the Fête de la Science (Science Fair) in the Pays de Gex on Saturday 14th October. This event will be an opportunity for young and old to meet innovation entrepreneurs from the Pays de Gex and to discover the innovation laboratories of Pangloss:
  • Mobility and Town Planning
  • Health/Wellness
  • Connected objects
  • Sustainable development
  • Culture and education
Around the theme "Critical spirit and received ideas", the Fête de la Science in Ferney-Voltaire will be an opportunity to explore:
  • electric mobility with the Vega association
  • astronomy with Orion
  • creative laboratories with Addictlab design
  • the connected objects
  • the innovations of citizen democracy
  • and so many other discoveries ...
A philosophical debate/conference will be organized at 5 pm, with Geneviève Brykman, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Paris Nanterre on the theme "Voltaire and received ideas". « The more the human being is enlightened, the more he will be free » - Voltaire Pangloss Labs Samedi 14 octobre de 9h à 18h 12 bis rue de Gex Résidence Joseph Boisson 01210 Ferney Voltaire Tel : 04 50 59 07 83 Contacts :,

Pangloss @ #UNHCRNGOs

On June 14th 2017, representatives from Pangloss Labs were invited to participate to the UNHCR annual consultation with NGOs.  From the sustainable development innovation lab, Paul, Charlie & Gianluca decided to dedicate one day to this.  With our partners from the Global Humanitarian Lab (based at the Palais de Nations), we exhibited some of the things that digital fabrication - and more importantly the entrepreneurial, problem solving mindset around it - could enable in refugee environments.    It was an eye-opening day for all of us, and each of us decided to tell the story in our own words. (more…)

Générer du beau

Vous vous êtes certainement posé les questions suivantes sur la beauté «Qu’est-ce qui est beau ? » «Comment être beau? Existe-t-il une méthode, une recette pour faire du beau ?» «Pourquoi moi je trouve ça beau mais pas les autres ? » Un proverbe arabe dit : « la beauté est dans l’œil qui regarde ». En fait la réponse de notre être à l’esthétique, est purement personnelle, et dépend de nombreux facteurs culturels et émotionnels. La beauté d’un visage par exemple peut être appréciée comme une absence de défaut. C’est la beauté qui rassure quant à son vécu personnel. Mais au contraire cela peut être une aspérité qui étonne au lieu de susciter notre rejet. Dans la réponse esthétique, on trouve le plus souvent une émotion qu’il est difficile de comprendre pour soi et encore plus d’expliquer aux autres. Un jour j’ai découvert l’univers de l’espace mathématiques de Mandelbrot. D’abord subjugué par la richesse des images produites à partir d’un simple zoom sur un point particulier de cet espace, où les formes se répétaient avec des variations étonnantes, je me suis fait expliquer ce qui générait ces formes. La réponse était étonnante. La fonction génératrice était l’étude de suite, dans le simple plan des complexes, dont on étudiait la vitesse de convergence. On donnait une couleur au point à partir duquel la suite était calculée, en fonction de sa vitesse de convergence. Un élève de terminale peut comprendre le problème posé, cependant la question est bizarre, originale. La réponse à cette question est, elle, époustouflante. Si Benoit Mandelbrot avait gardé pour lui le secret de cette génération en ne divulguant que le résultat artistique de ses recherches, jamais on aurait compris le principe générateur de ces formes d’une richesse infinie.   Cela choque beaucoup de personnes, mais de nombreux mathématiciens pensent que tout est nombre. Le réel physique d’existerait pas et l’univers  ne serait que le résultat de perceptions diverses. En décomposant, la complexité on arrive à de simples fonctions primitives, finalement assez pauvres. Jeune étudiant j’avais été choqué par l’énoncé du théorème de Fourier. Ce théorème dit que tout signal cyclique, aussi complexe soit-il, peut se décomposer en une somme de vibrations à différentes fréquences. Une vibration est une simple vague qui fait monter et descendre de façon continue, répétitive et monotone. La vibration en tant que cycle rassure, car on sait qu’après être redescendu, on va remonter, puis redescendre. Ça ne finit jamais et c’est sans surprise. La fonction mathématique qui porte cette vibration est la fonction Sinus. N’ayant comme talent artistique que celui du contemplatif, j’ai imaginé des formes qui ne seraient que des sommes de vibrations, dans tous les sens, dans plusieurs dimensions. En les combinant, on génère des formes douces, organiques, qui rappelle des muscles, des viscères, un squelette. On repère quelques répétitions signant la simple vibration, la simple vague, la simple fonction sinus, mais ces répétitions ne se répètent pas complètement à l’identique et surprennent un peu dans leur rendu parce qu’elles sont simplement combinées avec d’autres. On entre progressivement dans le domaine du vivant, ou dans l’illusion du vivant.   Mon œil est surpris par le résultat. J’espère que le votre aussi.

Pangloss Labs in Geneva

On the 12th of January a small, determined group met at Pangloss Labs in Ferney-Voltaire to discuss why there isn't yet a Pangloss Labs Geneva site and what to do about it. In a nutshell, although we have found some spaces in Geneva that meet our original half office / half workshop criteria, they are very few and far between.  With the rent costs being much higher in Geneva than neighbouring France, to replicate directly what we did in France would need 45 people willing to pay a proportion of the rent, before we have the space.   In addition, leases in Geneva tend to start at 5 years.  With some of the offers we have, on projects under development, we'd need 45 people willing to commit to contribute to a collaborative association for 5 years, starting in 1-2 years time.  That's almost impossible to do. So, with the facts on the table, and with the aid of some decent French wine, we brainstormed on the possible ways forward.  With lots of whiteboards, and different experiences and backgrounds we came up with the following plan:
  1. Make a list of all the spaces and similar initiatives around innovation in Grand Geneva.  Create working partnerships where possible.
  2. Simultaneously, use co-creation to decide amongst our Pangloss Labs community in Geneva, which set of Innovation Labs make sense for them.  This may well be a very different set from the 10 chosen in the Pays de Gex.
  3. Build up the space requirements for each Innovation Lab.  See if each Lab can start using time and space in existing physical spaces around Geneva.  If so, partner with the appropriate physical space, and do that, resulting in a win-win for Pangloss members and existing physical spaces, along with cross fertilisation between communities.
This doesn't solve the problem of a large maker space in Geneva, but it does solve the problem of how to get the other Innovation Labs really working for those members unable to easily get to Ferney-Voltaire and it provides something concrete as a partnership with our other innovation space friends around Geneva. Once things are up and running, we can decide if we need another physical space in Geneva, or if working collaboratively with existing spaces is sufficient. What do you think?
solar hydrogen generator

Solar Thermal Hydrogen Production – An Adventure

Fifty million tons of hydrogen are used every year mainly for making fertilizers and for refining petroleum. Today, it is also explored as an energy storage medium because electricity storage at large scale is costly and inefficient. Hydrogen can be used as a chemical, in particular to make hydrocarbons, so it can replace petroleum, and it is a source of clean power –for transportation for example- because its use results in water only and nothing else. Wouldn’t it be great to make hydrogen in a clean and sustainable way? The history of H2P began in 2001 on the premises of Creative Services s.a.r.l. with contemplations about what to do with acetylene. From a coffee table discussion the subject evolved into patent applications and the search for funds to realize the idea. (more…)

The Business Benefits of Open Source Modular Design

The modular design of technology, facilitated by an open source approach, could be a key feature of a circular economy – and it could open up significant business advantage in the process. This article was written by Pangloss Lab's own Paul Bristow and published at Circulate News, the news website of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Read it there:

Business Benefits of Open Source Modular Design

The modular design of technology, facilitated by an open source approach, could be a key feature of a circular economy – and it could open up significant business advantage in the process.  This article was written by Paul and published at Circulate News, the news site of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Making things for a good cause

One of the great things about being based in Geneva is the interesting people you meet. While working on innovation for “International Geneva”, I met up with the ICRC’s innovation team. They have been working on a global makeathon for humanitarian causes. One thing led to another, and I ended up giving a webinar on rapid prototyping and following that up with a long blog post which you can read on the Enable Makeathon’s site