My name is Wolf, I am an interaction and product designer from Berlin, Germany. I did a 3 months research journey on Digital Fabrication in the United States from August to October 2012.
Digital Fabrication describes a set of technologies and skills that enable us to turn data into things and things into data, such as 3D printing, lasercutting, CNC milling etc.
The places where this happens are called Fab Labs, Hackerspaces, Makerspaces, Tech Shops or similar. They all have in common that the are early prototypes of the long-awaited copy shops for 3-dimensional things. If you think a little further ahead they could shrink a little further and become fully integrated personal fabricators for home use. There is a great article by Neil Gershenfeld in Foreign Affairs that describes this much better that I can in this short summary.
To get a hands-on learning experience while I was underway I worked on a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) that I developed in the Labs I was visiting.
This PDF contains my initial itinerary and some more background information about me and the Journey.