Innovative spirit on four wheels – the 811 D as mobile makerspace

The blue 811D at a stop in Budapest

As a mobile innovation lab, the 811 D is on the road to events and conferences to spread the vision of global collaboration.

Innovation – no matter where, no matter when

Visitors are slowly strolling through the corridors of the exhibition hall, which today brings together exhibitors of the theme “Innovation”. Their glances wander from left to right, constantly new information floods the guests. However, their eyes remain on a blue and multi-colored Mercedes-Benz van. What does this vehicle have to do with the subject of innovation? Lettering decorates the blue eye-catcher: “GIG” stands for “Global Innovation Gathering”. GIG is a global network of innovators in the technical and social field. As a diverse community, consisting of technologists and “changemakers” from different innovation locations, GIG pursues the vision of global cooperation in an environment characterized by openness, equality and the exchange of knowledge.
The Mercedes-Benz 811 D, lovingly called “Big Blue”, has been part of the GIG family since October 2016. Its purpose is to enable a location-independent collaboration. In concrete terms, it also allows people outside urban centers to be involved in the innovation process. The Labmobile is also available for local initiatives. For example, it is used for workshops or at events and conferences to generate attention for specific topics.

The 811D from the GIG at an event

Robots from the 811 D

There are plenty of applications for the use of the Lab mobile. Due to its diverse equipment, it is used for different projects. In the 811 D there is a workbench including a peg board with various tools, as well as a lot of microelectronics and presentation materials, for example, for design thinking workshops. So too, a small library, a 3D printer and a laptop can all be found in the Lab mobile. Thanks to its equipment, small robots were already built in “Big Blue”, spare parts were printed and meetings were held. No wonder the 811 D is greeted with great enthusiasm and excitement wherever it appears. “Most people are immediately enthusiastic and have lots of ideas how they would use the bus and what they could do with it. In social media, too, we get a lot of positive feedback when we are active,” says Victoria Wenzelmann from the board of the GIG.

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Road trip with “Big Blue”

This year the Labmobile has a special mission. With a documentary filmmaker and some GIG members, “Big Blue” made a road trip from Berlin to Thessaloniki. Together with a trailer, which had been converted into a workshop on the road, the 811 D now forms the “Mobile Resource Center” for six months. It was used by local initiatives to organize workshops with fugitives. The road trip led the Labmobile across Europe, with stops at the MakersLab in Prague, the HappyLab in Vienna and the Makerspace in Budapest. From their visits, the members of GIG hope to form new relations between the organizations and the emergence of new joint projects. Victoria Wenzelmann summed up: “The motto of GIG is” we are what we create together “and this optimistic view of the future and the knowledge of the power of joint creation connects us all.”

Vehicle characteristics
Dimensions 6,330 x 2,190 x 2,910 mm
Engine Diesel, 77kw
Capacity 3,972 cm3
Construction Year 1993
Model 811 D-KA
Payload 4,900 kg
Gross vehicle weight 5,400 kg

Photos | LABmobile