Fab Tag


The Fab Tag application was developed at the Fab Lab San Diego as an easy-to-use interface for students, artists, programmers, hackers and teachers.

FabTag - Graffiti Life

Graffiti Life - Photo credit: Chris Keeney

Because of the visual and hands-on element to the program, Fab Tag has been useful in engaging middle and high school students as well as adults in learning about computer science concepts and electro-mechanical engineering techniques while being encouraged to be creative and have fun.

By using Fab Tag in educational programs, students learn to identify the function and form of electronic components and programmable sensing devices, and learn basics related to writing software to interface with these devices, as well as the problem-solving steps of an engineering process.  The project-based lessons includes combining hardware and software to create the illusion of painting with light, and using our new invention to produce an interactive multimedia experience.

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Inspired by the L.A.S.E.R. Tag tool developed by GRL, Fab Tag is aims to produce the effect of ‘writing with light’ by use of a computer application that interfaces with a traditional stylus or other input device such as a Wii remote to allow the user to ‘draw’ within the program.  The results of this ‘drawing’, which is taking place in real time is projected onto a wall or surface through a standard high lumen projector, thus allowing the  user to ‘write with light’ onto the surface.  The result is a very interactive tool that can allow a user to interact with and transform a space.

We developed the software in Processing because it allowed for a lot of versatility and encouraged assimilating existing code. We used the Wii library developed by darwiinremoteOSC and the Yellowtail sketch by Golan Levin along with the controllers by chronotext. We later replaced the wiimote with a tablet because of plug-and-play capability (we used the Protablet library by codeanticode).  The application was developed by Fabiola Hanna with advising from Katie Rast.

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The lending of the Fab Tag tool to any art piece in order to make it more interactive, dynamic and accessible in real-time is a very fulfilling use of this application.  This tool was developed with the desire to enable anyone to easily interface with live multimedia art in a unique and engaging way.

Through the Fab Lab SD, we have used the program as an easy-entry way to engage learners in thinking about the way in which they interact with computing through devices we use regularly, such as a mouse or video game controller.  By exploring how this process takes place, we can utilize the commonplace nature of these devices as a way to engage students in thinking like designers and engineers of the world around them.

A Crawford High School student using an analogue mixer to learn to combine their Fab Tag sketches with video clips.

Fab Tag in the Park - A free-for-all Fab Tag at Colina Park at Sol Summer Nights. The drawings made by the kids are being projected onto the screen behind the dancers


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Graffiti Life:

Fab Tag made its debut to the stage in ‘Graffiti Life’, which premiered at the San Diego Repertory Theatre. The producer of the show, Pose2, who is a local artist and Fab Lab member will be using the Fab Tag application to write live and project onto the stage setting while the play is in process.

San Diego Latino Film Festival:

At the 2010 Latino Film Festival, working in collaboration with Media Arts Center San Diego, Fab Lab installed Fab Tag in the New Media Tent.

The addition of Fab Tag added a dynamic element to the space, inviting people to use the stylus to decorate the walls around them with their own glowing drawings and scribbles.

New Media Tent slideshow: