'Making for Innovation' will be first class at NIC

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‘Making for Innovation’ will be first class at NIC

The former Nebraska State Fair exhibit space on the first floor of the 4-H Building at Nebraska Innovation Campus has been reserved for a Maker Space and the NIC’s business accelerator. University administrators are seeking funds to create the space, which would allow individuals access to a variety of tools.
Troy Fedderson | University Communications
The first floor of the Innovation Commons building will be home to the Nebraska Innovation Studio. The studio will be a makerspace designed to encourage interactions between students during creative and building processes.

A new course will allow up to 30 students to get hands-on experience and help launch the UNL Maker Space in the spring semester.

The course, “Making for Innovation,” will be the first to meet at Nebraska Innovation Studio — formerly the UNL Maker Space — on Nebraska Innovation Campus. Shane Farritor, professor of mechanical and materials engineering, and Liana Owad, Maker Space coordinator, will guide the class.

“The space is still going to be pretty raw,” Farritor said. “But we’ll have equipment in place and we’ll be able to start teaching students how to use creative ways to think through problems and chart paths to innovation.”

The course is designed on two basic ideas: building and hands-on problem solving are important paths to innovation; and that innovation occurs at the boundary between humanities and technology.

To help push toward that boundary, Farritor hopes the course draws between 20 to 30 students from a variety of campus disciplines.

“We want a diversity of students from disciplines across the university,” Farritor said. “Students from different disciplines and backgrounds offer a variety of perspectives when it comes to solving problems. That is a key element in the culture we are trying to create in the Maker Space.”

The course will focus on physical construction with small weekly projects. Lessons will culminate in a building, testing and presentation of a significant physical design project.

Course topics may include introduction to computer-aided design; principles of design; laser cutting; 3-D scanning and printing; computer-controlled machining; mold making; embedded programming and microcontrollers; fabrication with textiles; sensors and actuators; electronics production and printed circuit board manufacturing; mechanical design; and project management and communication.

Registration is by permission only. Students who wish to take the course must send a half-page email to Farritor (sfarritor@unl.edu) with two paragraphs stating why they want to take the course and a description of their background in making.

There are no prerequisites for the course, listed as MECH 498/898. The class is interdisciplinary and open to students of all majors and grade levels.

The class will meet Tuesdays from 2:30 to 4 p.m. for instruction and Thursdays for a hands-on lab in NIC’s Innovation Commons building (the former 4-H Building). Additional open lab time will be arranged.

The idea to create Nebraska Innovation Studio grew from a proposal generated by NIC’s faculty advisory committee. Farritor, a member of the group, has been leading the effort to create the Maker Space for the last year.

“It’s come along slower than I first dreamed, but it’s finally happening now,” Farritor said. “This next year is going to be very exciting.”

Construction on Nebraska Innovation Studio is beginning. Farritor said the class will meet in the north section of the space, while work continues to the south. The first phase of the Nebraska Innovation Studio is scheduled to open in June.

For more information on the “Making for Innovation” course, click here.

Shane Farritor
University Communications file photo
Shane Farritor
The 4-H Building on Nebraska Innovation Campus. Space on the first floor of the building has been reserved for the proposed Maker Space.
Troy Fedderson | University Communications
The Innovation Commons building will be home to the Nebraska Innovation Studio, a new makerspace designed to foster the creative processes between students of various disciplines.

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