Clemons Library’s 3rd floor is THE place to go for technology that can bring research to life — technology that can make the virtual seem real and turn digital objects into ones you can touch. During the main library renovation, Scholars’ Lab and the Robertson Media Center are co-located in Clemons, both united in the belief that if you think it you can make it. Their message to students and faculty who have little or no experience with maker technology? You belong here.
Scholars’ Lab has set up a space where people are welcome to come and tinker whatever their level of experience. And the things they make in TinkerTank are as varied as the makers:
- A UVA Studio Art major printed a life-size 3D-printed mask of her face for a film exploring how people navigate concepts of home and identity in an increasingly globalized world. “I love how a 3D print would bring an element of modernity, showing how this trend of cultural fusion is increasingly prevalent in this day and age … a representation of my face reconnects it to the realm of personal story.”
- Archaeology professor Foteini Kondyli’s Household Archaeology class worked with Data Visualization Specialist Arin Bennett and Makerspace Manager Ammon Shepherd to create 3D models the students could then print or turn into virtual reality. According to Kondyli, “the VR was just fantastic. I had to actually go into their virtual models to grade the projects. I walked along the houses, I opened doors – it was just great.”
- Biomedical Engineering students working with Ammon Shepherd used 3D printing to visualize and test ideas for a cup to help people with Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing).
But TinkerTank is more than 3D fabrication and immersive visuals. It’s Arduino kits for working with electronic components; sewing machines and sergers for crafting textiles into wearable art; button makers and software for making personalized buttons; and a Silhouette Cameo for creating custom stickers. One student-run jewelry workshop on how to make rings from vintage cutlery required little more that jewelry pliers, a vice, and 3D printed ring sizers; another workshop combines textiles and electronics to create apparel that lights up.
Contact TinkerTank to find out more. Come and look around, take a tour and get the feel of the place. Everyone is welcome!
The Robertson Media Center boasts collaborative workstations, virtual reality labs, studio spaces for audiovisual creation and editing, and a high-resolution visualization wall displaying student work. The RMC caters to new users of maker technology, placing an emphasis on experimentation and learning.
In the RMC 3D Printing Studio, students and faculty have access to nine fused deposition modeling printers and can attend training workshops to learn and master 3D printing technology. The printers are free and open to the University community after a quick training. Just stop by! The studio is open 3-9 p.m. Monday through Friday. The RMC has already trained 21 new users this semester, and will host two 3D modeling workshops, Intro to 3D Modeling with Fusion 360 (October15, 2021) and Generative Design with Fusion 360 Workshop (November 5, 2021).
Need to create a video? RMC has sophisticated video cameras, light kits, and associated filmmaking gear for checkout at the desk, and will train you to use the “high-end” equipment to turn out polished video presentations. In the spring 2020 semester, the Basic Multimedia Reporting Class asked their professor to scrap the syllabus and let them produce a documentary about their experience of the semester. They used RMC equipment, online resources, and multiple instruction sessions in Adobe Premiere and interview editing to create the documentary film “Spring Broken: College on COVID.”
The RMC also hosts the Women’s Maker Program, an interdisciplinary fellowship sponsored by the Jefferson Trust, Parents Fund, and the UVA Library. The program aims to bolster participants’ confidence in STEM fields of study and their comfort with makerspace technologies to better prepare them for future careers in the STEM workforce. The Library hopes to improve gender equality by ensuring that library makerspaces are inclusive spaces for all. The deadline to apply for a residency is November 1.