iMakerSpace Creates Innovation and Entrepreneurship Culture at Tennessee Tech University

Many colleges and universities work to create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) among students. Teaching either concept can be an esoteric pursuit, full of buzzwords and hard-to-implement ideas, but after making the decision to drive a new approach to I&E, Tennessee Tech University (TTU) immediately won a competition to be one of the first cohorts in the National Science Foundation Pathways to Innovation Program run by Epicenter and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA).

The effort of this Pathways team led to the launch of the EagleWorks student competition and the iMakerSpace, as well as providing a model for many schools to follow – by combining a range of resources and access points. Under the leadership of both the Colleges of Engineering and Business, the TTU iMakerSpace serves as a central location on campus to provide training, service, partnership, research and evaluation in Innovation and Entrepreneurship to all disciplines.

“In today’s economy, it is imperative for all students to acquire an entrepreneurial mindset. College graduates need to enter the workforce skilled in assessing complex problems, conceiving innovative solutions and developing scalable solutions, whether they join a company or non-profit organization or start a new venture,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter.

iMakerSpace supports NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The space hosts an Internet of Things Platform for Engineering Education and Research known as IoT PEER. Thanks to the College of Engineering, via the iMakerSpace, the IoT testbed has become an area of collaborative innovation and interdisciplinary research.

If you have heard of the Lean Startup concept, then the Tenn Tech I-Corps is worth checking out. The Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Sites is a NSF-funded entity established at universities to nurture and support multiple, local teams as they transition their technology concepts into the marketplace.

Engineering students who have been working on projects under the NSF-funded AM-WATCH program, TTU NSF I-Corps Site,  and the Additive Manufacturing Studio are regular users of the iMakerSpace facility (housed within the TTU library).

The above mentioned programs are only a handful of the many ways that TTU is focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship for its students. Through partnerships, such as the Epicenter, the Colleges of Business and Engineering, and the Biz Foundry, a nonprofit focused on building entrepreneurs and innovators in the region; TTU is showing how to make STEM an essential and real-world practical part of education.

Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series at Tennessee Tech University

Tennessee Tech University (TTU), over the last 5 semesters, has planned and delivered the “TED Talks of Additive Manufacturing,” says Dr. Ismail Fidan, Professor of the Department of Manufacturing and Engineering Technology. The series, known as the “Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series” is delivered via Zoom, a web video conferencing platform.

NOTE: If you or your students are looking for the most current 3D technology and the opportunity it presents, sign up for the web-based lectures on 3D printing here. Full text details on the webinars are at the end of this post.

The lecture series has trained 500-plus people from all over the world, from Africa to Europe to North America, on a wide variety of timely, hot Additive Manufacturing (AM) topics. These talks are aimed at AM industry professionals as well as STEM educators. If you have been looking for on-point, deeper talks about Additive Manufacturing, keep tabs on what Dr. Fidan and his team are doing at Tennessee Tech University.

The lectures are offered through the iMakerSpace, which was established as a university-wide, student-centered space under the leadership of the Colleges of Engineering and Business. It serves as a focal point on campus to provide training, service, partnership, research and evaluation in Innovation and Entrepreneurship to all disciplines. It also encourages interdisciplinary teams and provides support and training to extend Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) activities into research and the classroom.

AM WATCH is an ATE funded project focused on the skills AM technicians need to know.  The AM Studios provide STEM educators with the education/training/exposure to 3D that they can integrate into their current programs.

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Golden Eagle Additively Innovative Lecture Series SPRING 2018

  • February 22: Wire + Arc Additive Manufacturing: enabling 10-meter metal parts with Filomeno Martina, Ph.D., WAAMMat Program Manager Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Center, Cranfield University, UK
  • March 1: Free and Easy Software for Designing for 3–D Printing with Timothy Gornet, Manager of the Operations Rapid Prototyping Center, University of Louisville, Kentucky
  • March 29: AM Research and Applications for Real World Production and Impact with Eric N. Wooldridge, PE, RA, Professor of Additive Manufacturing, Workforce Development, and Pre-Engineering at Somerset Community College, Kentucky
  • April 19: Dental 3–D Printing Overview with Frank Alifui-Segbaya, Program Director for Bachelor of Dental Technology School of Dentistry and Oral Health, Griffith University, Australia

Winners from 2017 Stratasys Extreme Redesign, 3D Printing & Product Design Competition

Last week, AM News profiled the 2018 Stratasys/GrabCAD 3D Printing Extreme Redesign Challenge. We highlighted the details of the 3D printing challenge so students (and educators) could consider entering the contest. But in this post, we want to highlight the seven winners from 2017 to acknowledge their success and look at what they created as inspiration for this year.

Image provided by Stratasys / GrabCAD

Take a look at what the 2017 Extreme Redesign winners created (photos and general information from the challenge website used with permission from Stratasys):

1st Place: Biomimetic Robotic Prosthetic Hand

Grayson Galisky from Los Alamitos High School (CA)

Since he began 3D printing four years ago, 18 year old Grayson Galisky has been perfecting his craft by completing many different projects, and even building his own 3D printers… By modeling his design with major human hand components, he created more life-like features with regard to movement and speed. Galisky made innovations in the control department as well by using draw-wire sensors to collect data from his own hand movements to send to the robotic hand. Read more about the Biomimetic Robotic Prosthetic hand project here.

2nd Place: Bidirectional Ratchet

Connor Meehan from Saline High School (MI)

A problem solver at heart, Connor Meehan is an engineer who uses 3D printing to solve problems people in his life are facing. In particular, an arthritis problem his grandfather, who loves working on cars, is facing fueled the inspiration behind his bidirectional ratchet… Meehan wanted to invent a way for his grandpa to continue the automotive work he enjoyed without suffering from the stress on his joints. Thus, the bidirectional ratchet was created. Read more about the Bidirectional Ratchet here.

1st Place: Adjustable, Reusable and Modular (ARM) Cast

Thomas Salverson from University of Alabama in Huntsville (AL)

Although Thomas Salverson has no plans to be a doctor, he managed to create a new way to care for broken arms with his adjustable, reusable and modular (ARM) Cast. After being exposed to 3D printing through his high school rocketry team, Salverson started seeking out other ways he could exercise his 3D printing skills. The ARM casts consists of a modular ring, adjustable pads and an elbow joint, all which can be detached and then put together on the arm. Check out this innovative new Adjustable, Reusable and Modular (ARM) Cast here.

2nd Place: Fender Lock

Matthew Wong & Luis Carvalheiro from Ryerson University (Ontario, Canada)

A friend’s stolen bike seat and one 3D printing competition later, Matthew Wong and Luis Carvalheiro created a full-proof way to make sure bike seats never leave the bike they’re attached to again. After learning of the Extreme Redesign Challenge from their teacher, they soon started thinking of problems they could solve and remembered the story of their friend’s stolen bike seat. So they created the Fender Lock — more than just a lock, it includes a retractable fender to prevent your back from getting dirty and a convenient bottle opener as well. Read more about the 3D printed Fender Lock here.

1st Place: Intricate Flower Centerpiece

Daniel Fahy from University of Oxford/St.Catherine’s College (Oxfordshire, UK)

Daniel Fahy is fascinated by the unique, crazy designs you can make with 3D printing and as an engineer, he’s someone who likes to do it himself. Fahy was interested in the Extreme Redesign Challenge because of design freedom, and the limitless capabilities of 3D printing, which shows in his intricate flower piece. With his design, Fahy’s goal was to make a functional piece of art to show the endless possibilities 3D printing has to offer. His design uses zinnia and dahlia flowers for inspiration, which symbolize remembrance, represented by the candle function, and a lasting bond between two people, represented by the jewelry box. Read more about the Intricate Flower Centerpiece functional art project.

2nd Place: Khachkar – Armenian Cross Stone

Sergey Kuznetsov from J-Design Pro (Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation)

Sergey Kuznetsov is a creator. As a sound engineer and video jockey for more than 20 years, Kuznetsov started looking for other avenues to exercise his creativity. In his search for something new, he found 3D printing and admired the way that people were able to express themselves through the models they make. After dedicating himself to learning it and enrolling in design school, he 3D printed a khachkar, an Armenian outdoor stele. Kuznetsov’s inspiration to make a khachkar came because of its symbolism and beauty. Read more about the Khachkar Armenian Cross Stone project.

NCATC School Winner: Universal Tablet Holder for Phantom Drone 3

Jacob Haynes from Danville Community College (VA)

Jacob Haynes does his best to 3D print every day. Since discovering 3D printing at his technical high school, he’s constantly using the 3D printer at Danville Community College to make new things. One of those things was a universal tablet holder for Phantom Drone 3. It improves upon traditional drone holders with a bigger surface for cameras, since most only have a platform that is big enough for a phone. This design was originally made for a class project, but Haynes’ teacher liked his design so much he suggested Haynes’ enter it into the Extreme Redesign Challenge. Read more about the Universal Tablet Holder for Phantom Drone 3 project.

 

TEAMM Partners with Stratasys Education and GrabCAD for 3D Printing Challenge

For the last 14 years, Stratasys Education and GrabCAD (along with partners TEAMM and NCATC this year) have been conducting the Extreme Redesign Challenge for students around the world to make an existing design better.

You do not need a 3D printer to enter the competition and it is open for students around the world. Students can design an original piece of art, jewelry or architecture, or find a way to make an existing design better. The challenge is an opportunity to invent, innovate or improve something by re-engineering it to be printed in 3D in the annual Extreme Redesign Challenge. Participants can consider different 3D printing methodologies (FDM, SLS, SLA and PolyJet) and materials available for those methods, and then pick the best method for the production of your design.

Individual students or teams must create and submit 3D model files in .STL format with a detailed description explaining the design’s value and benefits. You can provide as many “images, renderings, relevant calculations, videos and screen shots of the design” to make your case for your design.

At press time there are 20 days left in the challenge; the Extreme Redesign Challenge entry deadline is February 26, 2018. Users must register for a GrabCAD community profile here.

Oh, lest we forget, there are cool prizes, plus full details on entry requirements from the Stratasys/GrabCAD website:

Challenge Prizes
  • Each student entrant: Receives a sheet of free tech tattoo stickers for entering.
  • Top 10 in each category: Receive a 3D printed model of their design and a Stratasys apparel item valued at up to $50.
  • 1st place winners: Receive a $2500 scholarship. Plus, their instructor will get a demo 3D printer for a limited-time classroom use.
  • 2nd place winners: Receive a $1000 scholarship.
  • NCATC School Entries: The National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers will award a $1000 scholarship to one winning entry in the engineering category. Post-secondary students from NCATC member schools will be eligible for this bonus prize.
Who Can Enter the Extreme Redesign Challenge?

This category is open to students currently enrolled (in person or talking coursework online) in middle or high schools worldwide (school grades 6 through 12). Entrants under the age of 18 must have their entries submitted by a parent or guardian over the age of 18. You may enter this challenge individually, or as a design team. All team members must be enrolled as a student in an educational institution or online program during the semester/term in which they contribute to the design. The Challenge is not open to any persons employed, past or present, as a professional in 3D printing. 

TEAMM Network Member Profile: Nano-Link at Dakota County Technical College

Some facts are too big to comprehend: A trillion dollars of US debt. While some are tiny and just as difficult: A sheet of paper is 100,000 nanometers thick. Human hair is 80,000 nanometers wide. And a strand of human DNA is a mere 2.5 nanometers in diameter. Nano-Link, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, focuses on these tiniest of atoms and molecules, but it has a big vision.

Forecasts of nanotechnology workforce needs cite 500,000 nanotechnology technicians needed by 2020. As an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Regional Center, Nano-Link, is tasked with growing both an industry and an education network to help meet these workforce needs, according to the website.

Watch Deb Newberry, former Principal Investigator for the Nano-Link project, explain the vision for nanotechnology for today’s students.

Nanotechnology covers subjects from physics and chemistry to emerging technologies such as photonics and biotechnology. It looks at market segments that go beyond the traditional electronics and materials industries, to encompass segments as diversified as lubricants, paper manufacturing, cellulose, energy, consumer products and the food industry.

Nano-Link began in 2008 at Dakota County Technical College creating a NanoScience 2-year Degree. With 10 years under their belt, the program continues to provide nanoscience course content to colleges: The Nano-Infusion Program (NIP) provides hands-on training, specialized modules that they offer at your location, at no cost to you. These products and services are for use in the (7 – 14) classroom or boardroom.

According to the website, the Nano-Link goals include:

  • Create a nationwide alliance of institutions that are the pipeline for the nanotechnology workforce.
  • Develop alliance faculty capacity to interface with industry, correlate industry-needed skills with program or course competencies and outcomes, and develop continuing relationships responsive to the changing technology environment.
  • Prepare students for the nanoscience and emerging technologies workforce.
  • Create a consortium of secondary educators that are masters in nanoscience education to engage students, including URMs.
  • Industry organizations and representatives are an integral part of the Nano-Link National Center.

Nano-Link has successfully advanced nanotechnology across nine colleges and two high schools. As they train the trainers, the program continues to grow and expand, proving that even the tiniest of molecules can make a difference.

Additional Resources: If you are looking for Core Competencies (performance indicators), the National Resource Center for Materials Technology Education offers a range of them. It specifically has a downloadable PDF for Nanotechnology Core Competencies.

According to the MatEdU website on Core competencies: “[they] provide a set of performance indicators that technicians, scientists, engineers, educators and technologists need to know in today’s advanced manufacturing environment to be able to accomplish in their work.”