The future is now on Seminole campus, yesterday’s opening of the Innovation Lab located in room LI 201 in the campus library drew more than 100 people including a who’s who of college, community, and tech leaders.
The lab allows instructors, students, and library card holders to use the latest in technology, including a 3D printer, Cublets KT06 modular robots, and the Korg littleBits Circuits in Seconds kit. The Monolith 3D printer, made locally by FreeFab3D, can make virtually any object from a file that can be created in a wide variety of computer programs. For example, much of the printer itself was created on a 3D printer. The Cubelets modular robotics kit allows lab users to build surprisingly complex robots out of simple parts that fit together like building blocks. The Korg littleBits kit is a do-it-yourself synthesizer on which lab users can make their own electronic music in mere seconds. The lab also includes an iMac and a desktop running Ubuntu Linux, providing access to other operating systems and the programs they offer, including Apple’s newly released Swift programming language, announced at Monday’s World Wide Developers Conference. Another computer in the lab is dedicated to podcasting and audio experiments, including a professional-grade microphone and mixer. All of this was made possible by SPC librarian Chad Mairn’s vision, a college innovation grant, and support from Seminole campus provost Dr. James Olliver.
Dr. Olliver was at both the morning and evening grand opening parties for the lab yesterday, welcoming guests including college president Dr. William Law, state Representative Larry Ahern, City of Seminole Vice Mayor Barnhorn, Councillor Patricia Plantamura, and the designers of the Monolith 3D printer: Lance Eppley and Fri Rider. Mo Eppley of the St. Pete Makers, a non-profit group seeking to bring a high tech makerspace to St. Petersburg was also in attendance. The FreeFab3D group provided demonstrations of what the lab’s 3D printer was capable of, showing off many complex designs that were created on the Monolith, including a bearing printed as a single piece. Most importantly, members of the community, young and old, filled the lab and spilled out into the hall during both the morning and evening opening parties. One guest, an Android app developer, volunteered to teach a workshop on mobile development. He is twelve years old. Mairn was quick to accept, and noted that the lab will host a wide variety of workshops and guest speakers. Among them is the creator of a makerspace in Taiwan who will connect with guests via teleconference on the lab’s smart TV and webcam. The lab will host its first free and open to the public workshop on 12 June from 10 AM until 12 PM on the LibraryBox, a palm-sized computer designed to serve files in areas with no Internet access.
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