Let’s build something together

Photo of Julian with a neuroprosthetics arm built by Aaron (standing to his right) and his teammates.

Julian (L) with neuroprosthetics arm built by Aaron (R) and his teammates

Coming into the Design Lab program as an Intern I thought that I would be doing what I had helped Justin with before, building printers, fixing printers, and helping other people print things. Working at the Design Lab I have had the opportunity to do and see so much more, and the other people in the Design Lab opened my eyes to collaborations that I couldn’t have imagined.

Most of what I did I was working with the 3D printers, interacting with them, calibrating them, and teaching others to use them. Each person that came to the Design Lab with a project that could use printing was so much fun for me. Whether it was learning how to tune in settings for letterpress blocks with former Resident Rebecca Chung, fiddling with new materials with my team for the Neuroprosthetics club I direct, or working with fellow intern Doug McDonald to digitally re-attach the legs to his rooster, I learned a lot from everyone who came to the Design Lab.

I think that it was cool to have a space on Central Campus where some engineering capabilities were located, but more importantly a space where people from all different skills and disciplines were coming together to make something new. I practiced digital file repair working with Doug, I practiced my modeling working with the teams making phone cases, and I practiced my instruction generation through writing operating instructions for the machines.

By far one of the most amazing experiences was working with my club in the Design Lab space over the course of the year. Being able to see one team sewing electrode sleeves, while another tests circuits and software, while yet another team works on a printed part and assembling an arm. The culmination of all of this work was also realized in the Design Lab with final testing, assembly, and photos of the device before we gave it to Julian, occurring in the Design Lab spaces. It is so unique to have a space such as this as accessible as it is, and Justin’s encouragement towards the pursuit of collaborative work is what makes it all possible for us to do.

The collaborative aspect of the Design Lab has led me already to two other projects using fiber optics in fabric and textiles, and I can’t wait to see what other interesting and neat things I learn as a result of being more open-minded to other people throughout the university, and not just Engineering students.