SU MakerSpace Is Open for Business, Will Host Open House Oct. 10
After more than a year of development and collaboration with students and faculty, Information Technology and Services (ITS) officially launched the SU MakerSpace with the opening of the fall semester. MakerSpaces, also known as fablabs, hackerspaces and techshops, are spaces where people can gather to design, create, invent, build, collaborate, teach and learn using do-it-yourself approaches. They are community centers for learning how to create with technology.
“SU MakerSpace embodies the next generation and continuing evolution of the computer lab,” says Jenny Gluck, ITS’s associate chief information officer for academic services. “In the same way that computer labs were established to provide access to technology that was otherwise out of reach, so does MakerSpace put cutting-edge tools, techniques and materials in the hands of our students and faculty. This will add to SU’s toolbox for enabling our innovative and creative people.”
Designed and managed by ITS’s Academic Services’ Learning Environments (LE) unit, SU MakerSpace shares space with the Kimmel Computer Lab. It offers a variety of accessible cutting-edge and emerging technologies: various 3D printers, including a liquid form laser beam (stereolithography) 3D printer; electronic components and soldering equipment for electrical circuit building; several CNC (computer numerical control) machines, including a laser cutter, a commercial-grade embroidery machine, a vinyl cutter, a router, a lathe, a fourth-axis mill and a wire bender; and a wide selection of general and discipline-specific hand tools.
All members of the Syracuse University community are invited to the SU MakerSpace open house from noon-5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10. The next Raymond von Dran Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator (RvD IDEA) Juicer, where students pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges and a live audience to win up to $500, will occur at the open house, from 2-4 p.m.
“MakerSpace opens the door to explore for students, faculty, staff and others in the SU community. It lets people tap into their creativity,” says John Mangicaro, electronic technician in LE, and lead facilitator of MakerSpace. “Technology is allowing us to have more options and provide more to the campus community. MakerSpace is an evolution of where we are going.”
In addition to the fabricating equipment, the bright space and colorful chairs, multiple data and power ports, and movable tables create an energetic environment that supports individual and collaborative entrepreneurial; design; and science, engineering, technology, arts and math (STEAM) projects.Two interactive whiteboards, coupled with a workstation equipped with Easy Interactive Tool, allow any member of the SU community to host a teaching session, seminar or workshop.
In mid-July, LE evaluated the MakerSpace by hosting a session of the Bristol Meyers Squibb Science Horizons workshop for seventh and eighth graders, followed by a two-week course in SU’s Summer College for High School Students titled MakerSpace and 3D Printing, a collaborative effort between RvD IDEA and ITS. Both events provided insight to MakerSpace’s capabilities and effectiveness.
Mangicaro taught 3D design and fabrication for both programs. “MakerSpace proved to be great for teaching, and offering students exposure to emerging technologies in a fun environment,” he said. “The summer programs helped us learn how to produce high student success rates, as well as manage the equipment—especially the 3D printers—and secure the place better.”
“I was taken by the way MakerSpace creates opportunities to learn how to communicate and network with people from different backgrounds and disciplines,” he said. “Here, people collaborate with others they would not normally engage.”
“It takes me back to when this same space was the Jabberwocky, for years the home for live music on campus. I saw many great, creative people perform here, from James Brown, to Charles Mingus, to Southside Johnny,” says Mangicaro. “Now, I’m reliving those moments with the students, watching them create. I tell them, ‘if you listen really closely, you can hear the music.’ ”
For more information about MakerSpace visit MakerSpace.syr.edu or contact Don Little at firstname.lastname@example.org.