Cincinnati, Ohio’s Xavier University made history earlier this year with the announcement of imagesa new maker center that will house 31 3D printers. And it appears the campus has been putting these printers to very good use. On May 29, 2015, Xavier University announced winners of its first “University of the Future Design Challenge” which took place at the new  MakerBot-filled Center for Innovation (CFI). The contest featured the ability of more than 70 people to attend a week of classes about 3D designing, scanning, and printing at the CFI. Not only was the training informative, but it was free!

These classes allowed students, even 3D printing novices, to design and print their own models to submit to the campus competition, which had three academic or technology related categories: University Structures of the Future, Learning and Teaching in the Future, and New Technologies. Each category winners received a $150 Visa gift card and 100 grams of free printing. Category runner ups received 50 grams of free printing at the CFI. Competition was stiff in each category, and someone was also given an honorable mention in the New Technologies category as well. This is a brief review of the contest winners for each category.

1. University Structures of the Future: 1st Place

Entries for this category were asked to consider what kind of campus structures might exist in 2025. It’s no surprise that some entries would be thinking about the environment. The first place winner is Megan Bowling’s creatively named “ReLeaf Station”.

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This station is designed as a place for students to go and recharge.  Designed to emulate a tree, but with solar panels as branches, this is actually a sensory deprivation chamber filled with 700 lbs. of water and salt to provide total relaxation for stressed out students. This design combines futuristic notions of holistic relaxation techniques with environmental awareness: a future I’d like to see more of!

Runner-Up

The runner-up award goes to Vincent Shaw’s soccer stadium, which has curved edges and is open on one end.  I wonder if University architects will check these designs out before they submit ideas for future stadium plans!

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2. Learning and Teaching in the Future: 1st Place

This second category asked entrants to focus on teaching and classroom aids in 2025, and the winner, Dr. Stephen Mills, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, submitted 3D printed Allene and Acteylene models to illustrate chemical bonds.

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Runner-Up

Dr. Heather Balyeat got runner-up for her Blood Antibody Exercise design. This is a set of manipulatives so students better understand antibody/antigen pairings and blood type. You can insert a magnet on the bottom and use the pieces with a magnetic white board. Also, using the magnets, the two halves can be connected for a complete model.

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3. New Technologies

The last category imagines what technology will be like in 2025. The winner (no photo available) is a raised garden cinder block connector by Leonard Rich.  The runner-up is Alex Fuert’s 3D printed computer — an idea who’s time has come, right?

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And in this category an honorable mention also went to “More Than Grades” by Gracie Carver-Dew. This design represents how the education system will change from a test-based model to a more individualized learning and teaching environment. The pencil, emblazoned with Xavier’s host city, Cincinnati, represents the Fine Arts and the other objects represent Science/Mathematics.

From the looks of these winning models, it seems that the Xavier University community is getting much use from its new Center for Innovation. Professors and students alike participated and won in the Center’s first 3D printing contest, and many more benefited from the provocative ideas that were introduced about education, technology, and the future via 3D printed models.  Let us know which designs were your favorites in the Xavier 3D Printing Contest forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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