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Innovation Floor Makerspace

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Ritchie School Communications Team

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Innovation Floor

Maker Spaces are unique playgrounds for exploration, experimentation, trying new things, and failing forward. The maker movement (coined in 2006) has seen explosive growth of makerspaces across the country on university campuses, in libraries, and popping up in communities. These spaces provide an accessible, low barrier-to-entry environment for hands-on, project based learning. They also serve as a space for interdisciplinary collaborations for budding entrepreneurs. The Innovation Floor (DU’s makerspace) is no exception. Since opening its doors in January 2017, the Innovation Floor makerspace has been fostering creativity, innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset in its users. Open to all students, faculty, and staff at the University of Denver, the Innovation Floor provides users with open access to tools and programming allowing users the ability to make most anything they can imagine. Over the past year the Innovation Floor has held over 100 workshops, hosted dozens of events, and has supported many classes across the University. The Innovation Floor presents opportunities for students to engage in hands-on, interactive projects that reinforce key engineering principles while fostering curiosity, creativity, and the entrepreneurial-mindset. Within the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science, use of the makerspace is integrated into courses such as Engineering Senior Design, Integration, Mechatronics, Introduction to Mechanical Systems, Introduction to Engineering, Product Development and Market Feasibility, and more. Some examples of how other disciplines around the campus are using the Innovation Floor include:

  • Dr. Erich Chapman’s chemistry class use the 3D printers for printing protein molecules.
  • Dr. Barbekka Hurtt’s biological science students 3D print anatomical anomalies for classroom learning aids
  • Chris Coleman’s Emergent Digital Practices class uses the CNC router and vacuum thermoformer for creating art work.
  • Gregory Wagner’s marketing course where students developed marketing plans for objects they 3D printed.
  • Dr. Bonnie Clark used the 3D printers in her archaeology class printing off replicas of ancient artifacts to study in a more tangible, meaningful way.

In addition to supporting curricular use, the Innovation Floor also enhances student extracurricular activities. The Innovation Floor is host to a number of student clubs such as the Maker Club, Dynamize Student Entrepreneur Club, and more.

The space also informally serves as an incubator for new student start-ups, facilitating prototyping and inter-disciplinary collaboration among new student ventures.

For questions about the Innovation Floor, please contact the Director, Michael Caston, at michael.caston@du.edu.