May 29, 2016

UMass Amherst Opens First Large-Scale MakerBot Innovation Center at a University Library

From UMass Amherst:

Libraries throughout the U.S. are implementing new technologies to adapt to the changing habits of the digital age by adding additional services such as wireless Internet (97.5 percent), e-readers (25.4 percent) and tablets (16.5 percent). But technology is also driving a different trend that is redefining the very role that libraries play. By offering access to 3D printing, libraries nationwide are turning into labs of experimentation and innovation for aspiring entrepreneurs and help advance creativity for everyone. To date, MakerBot 3D Printers and Scanners are in an estimated 500 libraries across the U.S.

UMass Amherst is embracing this concept in a big and unprecedented way by teaming up with MakerBot to deploy the first large-scale 3D printing MakerBot Innovation Center in New England and the first ever at a university library. The MakerBot Innovation Center at UMass Amherst is located in the Digital Media Lab at the iconic Du Bois Library, which is focused on facilitating project-based learning and innovation on campus and providing this access to the surrounding community. MakerBot is excited to join UMass Amherst for the grand opening of the MakerBot Innovation Center at 10:00 a.m., Thursday, March 26, 2015. Students, parents, press, business partners and community members are invited to join the opening ceremony with speeches from University staff and representatives from MakerBot.

A MakerBot Innovation Center is a large-scale installation (more than 30) of MakerBot Replicator

3D Printers and supporting devices that empower organizations and educational institutions to innovate faster, increase collaboration and compete more effectively. At UMass Amherst, the MakerBot Innovation Center brings 3D printing technology to faculty, researchers and thousands of students —from business majors for entrepreneurial pursuits, to architects for creating models, to engineering and science students for developing concepts and tools.

Jay Schafer, director of libraries at UMass Amherst, said: “The MakerBot Innovation Center ties in firmly with the campus’s personality of being entrepreneurial and community engaged and will allow us to work more closely with the local business community. Having a large-scale installation of MakerBot 3D Printers makes this resource more broadly available on campus and puts UMass Amherst at the forefront of technological innovation. The MakerBot Innovation Center will help bridge the gap between the digital and the physical realm, so students can turn designs into 3D physical objects and prototypes.” Schafer also noted that the MakerBot Innovation Center is designed to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration. A group of faculty from environmental conservation, building and construction technology, biology, public health, public policy and engineering already has plans to offer a makerspace class that will use the MakerBot Innovation Center as a resource for projects centered on remote sensing, environmental monitoring and building control systems.

“We’re thrilled to be a part of UMass Amherst’s unique Digital Media Lab that emphasizes technology and project-based learning,” said Mark Schulze, UMass graduate and MakerBot general manager of the Americas and Emerging Markets. “UMass Amherst realizes that the jobs of tomorrow will require strong technology and collaboration skills. To prepare students for these jobs, the MakerBot Innovation Center will help to cultivate entrepreneurialism, education and innovation in Massachusetts and far beyond.”

The MakerBot Innovation Center at UMass Amherst is a custom, centralized and scalable 3D printing solution that has been developed to meet the specific needs of the university. With the MakerBot Innovation Center, students, faculty and the community are provided with opportunities to collaborate on Real-Time Prototyping projects, 3D model making and small-scale creative and manufacturing projects. UMass Amherst will also be able to forge public-private partnerships with industry leaders to create a vibrant innovation hub that serves both students and the local business community in unprecedented ways. Concrete plans to realize this vision at UMass Amherst include an entrepreneur-in-residence program, mini-courses and workshops geared toward practicing professionals, elevator pitch and business plan competitions, incubator spaces and coaching support for new-venture start-ups and support for small business development.

The MakerBot Innovation Center at UMass Amherst has been built in conjunction with consulting from MakerBot; training for university staff is being provided by the MakerBot Learning staff of highly trained 3D printing experts. The UMass Amherst MakerBot Innovation Center includes 50 MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers (35 MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printers, five MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printers, five MakerBot Replicator 2X Experimental Desktop 3D Printers and five MakerBot Replicator Mini Compact 3D Printers), a large supply of MakerBot PLA Filament, several MakerBot Digitizer™ Desktop 3D Scanners and MakerBot MakerCare protection plans. At the core of the MakerBot Innovation Center is the MakerBot Innovation Center Management Platform, a proprietary and innovative 3D printing software platform that links all of the MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers together, provides remote access, print queuing and mass production of 3D prints, and is designed to streamline productivity and staffing of the center. The scalable design of the MakerBot Innovation Center allows UMass Amherst the option to easily add additional MakerBot 3D printing technology in the future.

MakerBot is a leader in the desktop 3D printing industry and was founded in 2009 as one of the first companies to make 3D printing accessible and affordable. MakerBot now has one of the largest installed bases and market shares of the desktop 3D printing industry, with more than 80,000 MakerBot 3D printers in the world and a robust MakerBot 3D Ecosystem that combines hardware, software, apps like MakerBot PrintShop™ and MakerBot Mobile, materials, training, support, consulting,retail stores, partnerships and Thingiverse, the world’s largest 3D printing community, in order to make 3D printing easy and accessible for everyone.

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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