Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Florida announced a partnership with Makerbot to create a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Makerspace that will provide students and faculty with access to over 55 Makerbot 3D printers and scanners. This facility will be the largest MakerBot innovation center in the nation with more MakerBot Replicator 3D printers and MakerBot digitizer desktop 3D scanners than any other American university. Back in February, we reported on MakerBot’s announcement, to launch these innovation centers, featuring at least 30 3D printers in each.
On August 16, Florida Polytechnic will host a grand opening celebration in which the public will be invited to tour the RAD Makerspace. In addition to seeing the new equipment, those on the tour will have the added benefit of seeing the magnificent building, designed by Santiago Calatrava, in which the equipment will be housed.
The only college in the state university system of Florida to focus exclusively on STEM subjects, Florida Polytechnic was a natural partner for Makerbot. Tom Hull, Florida Polytechnic’s Vice President and Chief Information Officer, explained the benefits of having such facilities on campus:
“Having a RAD Makerspace on campus is providing the students, who will shape the future, with the technology they need to succeed today. 3D printing has many possible applications in various fields, and our RAD Makerspace will inspire students as they explore, discover, innovate, and create. Florida Polytechnic encourages research applicable to the real world, and 3D printing is at the center of the product iteration and technological innovation process. We are hoping that students will be attracted to Florida Polytechnic in part because of our RAD Makerspace along with our modern, integrated curriculum.”
Not only is Florida Polytechnic the only university in the Florida State University system dedicated exclusively to STEM disciplines, but it is also the newest. This August, it will welcome 500 students to its first class. Leaders at the University are also looking to ensure that this new institution of higher education is involved in reaching out to the community. As such, they plan to host intercollegiate 3D printing events, guest lectures open to the public, and a regular series of Maker Faires.
The benefits to Makerbot will include graduates who are already intimately familiar with their products, ready to enter the workforce. MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis, also a former teacher, expressed his company’s enthusiasm for the partnership:
“It’s so exciting to see an educational institution rethink the learning and innovation process and embrace technology that will, we believe, truly turn the students of today into the entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow. If you’re infinite possibilities, Florida Polytechnic’s RAD Makerspace will help create a model of what a university should offer to prospective students. A Makerbot Innovation Center or Makerspace such as this one, with every tool imaginable, will change the way students think about the world. I can’t wait to see what the Florida Polytechnic students make.”
This is yet another partnership between MakerBot and an educational institution. What do you think? Discuss in the Florida Polytechnic’s RAD Makerspace forum thread at 3DPB.com.
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