August 11, 2017

The Maker Movement has made waves nationwide. Festivals like the Maker Faire have established a global presence by building a sense of community among tinkerers looking for an outlet, and universities are catching on.

Attendees of the inaugural IEEE Vision, Innovation and Challenges (VIC) Summit heard IEEE Fellow Dr. James D. Plummer, the keynote speaker, reflect on the shift happening in engineering schools around the world, and how the curriculum has started to adapt to include hands-on, project-based learning opportunities.

University-supported makerspaces help students who were exposed to STEM early on continue to explore their technical curiosity. Younger makers have access to similarly equipped labs and spaces at public libraries (including programs at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum and the San Jose Public Library mobile Maker[Space]Ship), where they can get an early introduction to things like Arduino technology, 3D printers and virtual reality.

At Stanford, where Dr. Plummer was the longest-serving dean of the School of Engineering,  students have two makerspaces to choose from, including an open makerspace called create:space and a lab for engineering students called lab64.

Stanford isn’t the only California college with impressive Arduino-clad labs. Santa Clara University and Foothill College, both a relative stone’s throw from Silicon Valley, have created impressive spaces for students to build real-life solutions.

On the east coast, Carnegie Mellon’s College of Engineering has staked its claim in the makerspace, with projects ranging in application from AI and robotics, medical technology, virtual reality and more.

If you’re tirelessly tinkering on a project that solves complex problems and has applications to benefit society, enter the 2017 IEEE Maker Project before October 17, 2017.


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