Recent grassroots initiatives for the DIY movement focused on the democratization of high-tech tools such as 3D printers, computer-aided design software, and laser cutters are reaching huge audiences and steadily gaining high level support. This new “Maker Movement” is working to empower Americans to become producers of things—not just consumers of things—by holding “Maker Faires” across the country. Maker Faires have taken place in New York City, Silicon Valley, and everywhere in between, and draw thousands of attendees, artisans, startups, and established companies to showcase the products of their creativity and hard work.
In a recent letter to the White House, New York Institute of Technology joined scores of American colleges, universities, and technical institutes to declare its commitment to fostering the maker movement on campus through supporting research, expanded access to scientific and technological labs, encouraging making in senior design projects, investing in makerspaces accessible to all students, and supporting education, outreach, and service learning that encourages and inspires young makers.
In response to this letter, President Barack Obama officially declared June 18, 2014 National Day of Making, and is hosting the first-ever White House Maker Faire in Washington, D.C. Of the day, he says: "This event celebrates every maker--from students learning STEM skills to entrepreneurs launching new businesses to innovators powering the renaissance in American manufacturing. I am calling on people across the country to join us in sparking creativity and encouraging invention in their communities." To read his entire statement, click here.
NYIT's School of Engineering and Computing Sciences is especially dedicated to supporting making, and many of its students and faculty are taking full advantage of the state-of-the-art making tools in SoECS lab facilities. 3D printing has been used to fulfill a variety of needs on campus. For example, one student printed a model airfoil for a senior design project, which was tested in a wind tunnel. His purpose was to validate results from a computation fluid dynamics software program. Another student printed housing for a bike-mounted Peltier cooling system. Student clubs like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), are taking advantage of the rapid protoyping capability of the 3D printer to manifest and perfect designs on a variety of robotics projects. Gears, clamps, hooks, linkages, and brackets are printed right here at NYIT in a fraction of the time it would take to fabricate these items in more traditional methods. One NYIT engineering student even printed the parts to create his own 3D printer!
While mechanical engineering students utilize the 3D printer with frequency, NYIT Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering students are also using this technology in creative ways. One team of ECE students recently built a pill dispenser that was can be electronically personalized to dispense medication in the proper doses and times.
See the photos below for some examples of NYIT making:
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