Made in Brooklyn!
NYU Tandon Cuts the Ribbon on its New MakerSpace
On September 20, NYU President Andrew Hamilton and NYU Tandon School of Engineering Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan cut the ribbon on a new high-tech facility: a gleaming bi-level, 10,000-square-foot MakerSpace, chock-full of cutting-edge tools that will enable students from across the university to go from product idea to working prototype.
The opening was part of the Inauguration Celebration Week honoring Hamilton, whose vision for NYU includes multidisciplinary, cross-institution initiatives exactly like the MakerSpace.
President Hamilton and Dean Sreenivasan received ribbon-cutting help from Chandrika Tandon, New York State Senator Martin J. Golden, New York State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon, and a host of other community partners who gathered to celebrate the opening.
Sreenivasan pointed out that Tandon has long been a center for makers. “Some people like to refer to the unofficial Brooklyn motto, “Fuhgeddaboudit,” he joked. “But here at Tandon, we will never forget that invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship are in our very DNA and in the DNA of the borough.”
Hamilton voiced the thoughts of many attendees when he excitedly announced, “Just being here makes me want to play, to tinker, to make things!” On a more serious note, he reminded his audience that the things that might be prototyped in the MakerSpace could one day very well serve and benefit society in practical ways. The facility, he asserted, is a symbol of NYU Tandon’s commitment to Maker culture and a way to shorten the distance between initial idea and tangible solution. “We all know the song lyrics to ‘New York, New York,’ which state, ‘If you can make it there ...,’” he said. “Well, very soon people will be both literally and figuratively ‘making it’ here. You’re going to be seeing great things coming out of this space.”
There among the 3D printers, laser cutters, vacuum formers, and soldering stations, even the seasoned politicians in attendance seemed gripped by excitement. “Brooklyn is on fire,” Senator Golden exclaimed. Pointing to the Thomas Edison quote that adorned one wall — “There ain’t no rules around here. We are trying to accomplish something” — he predicted, “There are also no ceilings on what can be accomplished, and I cannot wait to see for myself.”
Assembly Member Simon, known for her fervent support of NYU’s Ability Project (a research center dedicated to the development of adaptive and assistive technologies for people with disabilities), said, “I know from attending Tandon hackathons that amazing things can result when bright motivated students get together to devise ways to make the world better.”
Simon admitted to “geeking out” at being at the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the Maker Movement, and she was far from alone in that sentiment. The space is home to several pieces of equipment that most people would never even have a chance to glimpse at, outside of specialized graduate laboratories: a micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) unit that will non-destructively image the internal structure of objects on an exceptionally fine scale; a plastic injection machine, which will introduce aspiring entrepreneurs to the process of mass manufacturing; and an electro-dynamic shaker, which tests a product or model under varying conditions of motion, acceleration, and force; and more.
The MakerSpace is intended to be an unparalleled resource that will be invaluable in helping students apply their classroom learning to solve real-world engineering challenges. It is also intended as a major part of NYU Tandon’s answer to President Barack Obama’s call to build a Nation of Makers, empowering its users to create, innovate, tinker, and turn their ideas into reality.
If the past is any indication, many of those Tandon students who use the MakerSpace can be expected to deploy their skills right here in New York City after graduation; as Hamilton pointed out, in a survey of 1,000 recent graduates, more than three-quarters had settled in the city to live and work.
Leave this hub of learning, making, and doing? Fuhgeddaboudit!
To learn more about the MakerSpace and the possibilities it presents, visit: engineering.nyu.edu/makerspace.