Experimenting With New Technologies at FIT’s Maker Space

Maker Minds SpaceA few times a semester, students and faculty flock to the sixth floor of the Gladys Marcus Library to try out curious technologies: LilyPad microcontrollers that can make lights dance to music, software that programs augmented reality experiences, or a hologram projector. Other times, the educational offerings are more low-tech, like calligraphy, Korean fabric wrapping, and an extremely popular Halloween photo booth.

These events take place in the MakerMinds Space, where the FIT community comes to experiment and play with intriguing creative practices. The space was founded in 2017 by Jana Duda, technology resources manager, Innovative Technology and Digital Production, and Helen Lane, instructional design librarian.

Lane points out that more and more libraries are hosting maker spaces.

“Libraries are places of research but also places of getting work done,” she says. “We wanted to embrace the fact that we’re a nonstandard library—an art school library. It’s an extension of the role of libraries to support the curriculum and student projects.”

Four events have been scheduled this fall, including 3D printing an audio file (October 11) and needle felting with a conductive fiber that lights up (December 6).

Some technologies in the MakerMinds Space will also be presented in the Faculty Research Space, a laboratory where faculty can learn how to use cutting-edge equipment. The MakerMinds Space also participates in an Innovation Playground, held each fall for students to try out 3D printing, laser cutting, 3D scanning, and more.

“It’s really important to engage with students outside of a classroom, to let them experience these technologies,” Duda says. “It’s a way of broadening their knowledge base.”

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