At UCF, we believe that:
Based on this philosophy, we are shaping a service-based Maker Culture to ensure that the full resources of our campus Maker shops, from all disciplines, are available to all 60,000+ students, researchers and associated educators, who want to invent and create Lean Start-up MVPs.
In addition to promoting the Maker services we have enabled in and around on our various regional campuses, we believe that we have a clear responsibility to enable Makers beyond UCF. As such, we are partnering to positively influence Maker Shops in the greater regional community to provide increasing levels of services for Makers everywhere. As an example, by partnering with key starter/Maker shops in the downtown Orlando community, we are expanding our ability to share best practices, to thereby enable all Makers everywhere to successfully create their products and start their businesses. One example of this work is our effort to enable Maker shops in the downtown area to provide NSF Innovation Corps-style training based on the Lean Start-up approach. We also expect to engage with the various public library systems that are quickly moving to provide Maker services of their own.
By keeping our sights on economic development, as well as research and education, we are moving to serve and enable the Maker community beyond the perimeters of our campuses.
The Maker experience at UCF is enhanced through our efforts to offer a consistent experience for the Maker, regardless of the type of discipline needed to make their innovation a reality.
Campus Maker shops from across various disciplines (College of Business, School of Visual Arts & Design, College of Engineering & Computer Science, et al.) are evolving to operate with a consistent Maker service experience. By offering a common way to access the resources at these shops, Makers will be able to seek advice, access tools, seek parts and find various resources in a consistent and reliable way. The goal is to make the Maker’s experience be as consistent as the “Genius” bar you might find in a computer store, regardless of the UCF Maker shop they walk into. We also benchmark our operating methods with other established innovation systems (eg. Techshop, Makehaus, IDEO), to enhance our ability to provide improved high levels of Maker service across our various shop locations.
By providing a consistent way to seek advice and ask the right questions of the key experts, Markers will have access to advisors who can provide the insights they require to resolve their design, engineering, tools, craft and other resources needs. As we expand our community partnerships, we expect this consistency of operation will serve the community at large.
Therefore, whether the Maker is creating the first version of a future product, or merely a simple prototype for an MVP to test customer discovery, we strive to ensure that the Maker receives the help they need across disciplines to complete their tasks.
Beyond providing the facilities for Maker shops, we also recognize that a key part of our mission is to teach the process of innovative creation and to expect Makers to think critically about their innovations. Using a twist on an old adage, we are striving to “teach them to Make, rather than hand them something Made”. As such, we are creating an environment where Makers are expected to learn how to create a variety of products today, in a way that will energize their ability to embrace practical innovation for the rest of their lives. We accomplish this by employing experienced Maker shop leaders, are who believe and are willing to hold firm on this philosophy, and who are espousing this in the associated curriculum.
To re-enforce the ability for Makers to think holistically about their products needs and understand how their innovations are impacted by work in various disciplines, such as design, engineering, human factors, etc. To this end, we have added curriculum that promotes the necessary cross-disciplinary approach, to expose Makers to these topics. Below are a few of the initiatives in place to provide the Maker with an understanding of the holistic view of product innovation:
School of Visual Arts & Design Maker Spaces -
The ADLab (Advanced Design Lab) curriculum provided in ART 3930 includes coursework and an associated lab, dedicated to collaborative interdisciplinary Maker environments and projects. Open to all student/Makers on campus, the ADLab lab itself has been in existence for the last ten years and has evolved over time to encompass greater Maker design capability. Based on this success and greater demand for more Maker design capability, formal SVAD classroom coursework associated with the ADLab was subsequently established. Student/Makers in the ADLab are exposed to practical design techniques that provide an avenue to building their respective design portfolios.
The operating structure and philosophy of the ADLab has continually enabled strong ties with industry. Past partnerships have included design for entertainment and consumer focused design programs aligned with the following industry partners: Hard Rock Park, Seminole Harley Davidson, and the Rosen Hotels and Convention Center. Currently, we are partnering with NBC/Universal through the ADLAb to introduce students from Art, Business and Engineering into the world of immersive real-world design projects.
College of Engineering & Computer Science Maker Spaces –
The CECS Make Space is a significant step towards accomplishing one of the commitments of creating viable Maker spaces at UCF, by augmenting core academic curriculum and establishing a systematic process within the Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute (eli2) that will enable more than 7,000 undergraduate students to gain experience in the technology entrepreneurship process and successfully create new companies. In September of 2014, UCF held a grand opening ceremony for four new Maker Space labs in CECS:
Located in the atrium connecting the Engineering buildings on the main campus, these labs offer students dedicated and centralized spaces to gather and collaborate; generate numerous creative ideas; vet those ideas with mentors trained in innovation design thinking; and then build and fine-tune working prototypes - all in one convenient location that allows for easy movement between labs.
Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership & College of Business Maker Spaces –
In June of 2014, UCF held a grand opening ceremony for Starter Lab in College of Business. Starter Lab provides 1,500 sq. ft. of space where students of all disciplines can collaborate and work on new venture ideas. The Starter Lab is a great place for students to collaborate with others and ‘noodle’ with preliminary innovation and new venture ideas. The Starter Lab is a growing community center for student starters/Makers from all disciplines. The space features meeting space, pervasive whiteboards and post-it notes, as well as materials and tools to experiment with preliminary ideas for innovative MVP’s associated with a variety of business ideas. Some past successes include providing advice for both high technology business innovations, as well as lower technology business ideas (eg., products focused on the culinary or fashion industry). The Starter Lab provides an ideal complement to build specific types of MVPs, resulting from the Lean Start-up advisory services provided to all students at the Blackstone Launchpad.
Altogether, these varied cross-disciplinary Maker spaces lay a strong foundation for a robust set of programs, facilities, and experiences for UCF Makers that reach, engage and encourage them to create inventions. Moreover, we believe this provides them with a path to Making their innovations happen today, and with the foundation in Making that will support them through the launch of their potential market start-up business and for life.
Cross Disciplinary Education Enables Makers -
UCF is moving quickly to enable student entrepreneurship thereby promoting further cross-disciplinary curriculum integration and breaking new barriers at various levels.
School of Visual Arts & Design
SVAD hosts the advanced design curriculum provided in the ADLab (Advanced Design Lab) curriculum, and includes coursework plus the associated lab, as delivered in ART 3930. Beginning in 2014, a new level of multidisciplinary collaboration was a chived with the first joint appointment of an Engineering professor (Dr. Bob Hoekstra, Associate Professor, College of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems) to a position in the College of Arts & Humanities and the School of Visual Art and Design. This sets the pace for students from Engineering to enroll in design and other studio art courses, and while enabling art students to enroll in limited Engineering courses, taught by Prof. Hoekstra.
The Engineering Leadership Institute (Eli2)
Engineering leaders aren’t born, they are developed – this is echoed universally by private industry, government agencies, academic institutions and engineering professional societies. Eli2 is a multi-year effort in the College of Engineering & Computer Science designed to enable students to quickly and effectively prepare for the professional world after graduation. Under the leadership of Dr. Tim Kotnour, a Co-PI on our NSF I-Corps Site grant, Eli2 provides both certificate and minor programs, designed to introduce students to topics such as innovation and creativity, project management and delivery and sales engineering. Eli2 also hosts the CECS Maker Shops cited above, and is expanding to provide new Technology Entrepreneurship curriculum (EGN4641C), using the latest methods as provided by Lean Start-up approach.
College of Business Administration
As a part of their entrepreneurial specialization, the College of Business Administration (COBA) offers a specific entrepreneurship track in the business degree curriculum. This track allows undergraduates to focus their studies in specific Core and Capstone courses that provide an overview of entrepreneurship, a specific focus on human resource management, and provide for optional track courses in various aspects of marketing strategy and execution, and in financial statements and small business finance, as well as new venture financing. In 2015, this program will be enhanced with the addition of a course based on the Lean Start-up approach, and which will make ample use of the Maker shops on campus for creation of MVPs.
Sales Engineering - The sales engineering course is a cooperative effort between the colleges of engineering and business, to provide technology students with exposure to sales strategies and techniques.
Applied Design - Beyond this, the development of a new Minor in Applied Design is available to students and contains courses that are cross-listed course from Art, Business and Engineering.
The Blackstone Launchpad - Student teams from across campus are encouraged to bring their new ideas to the Blackstone Launchpad (hosted by the College of Business). Here, students of all disciplines can seek guidance on how to proceed with their potential new venture. A Launchpad advisor assigned to the student team will work with them weekly to help them determine the viability of the business model. Students are introduced to the Lean Start-up Approach and provided guidance that is focused on quickly determining the viability of the business. Workshops on a variety of Business Model Canvas activities enable students to validate their business models. Once a team reaches the point where they require a prototype, they can then move on to use the right Maker shop to create their MVP.
There are a variety of students involved in Making for a variety of reasons. For example, as a part of engineering degree programs in the College of Engineering & Computer Science, senior design teams are expected to select a project to be delivered over a two-semester senior design course. These senior design projects have made significant and continuous use of the Maker shops in the engineering curriculum. The same types of practical deliverables project requirements are expected of students in several degree programs. So popular are these Maker Shops that they are often crowded with a larger variety of students.
Beyond the Maker activity stemming from projects for required curriculum, a large number of students are increasingly interested in starting businesses and eventually need to build an MVP. The advice provided to individual students and student teams at the Blackstone Launchpad expose students to the Lean Start-up approach and the need to iteratively build their MVP’s. This often creates a need for repeated visits to the Maker shops on campus.
Finally, there are several student clubs from a variety of degree disciplines who have shown continual interest in entrepreneurship or other competitions, which then spur the need to Make an associated product or prototype.
Overall, our Maker activity is robust, given our campus size of over 60,000 students.
Advanced Design Lab (ADLab) - Open to all student/Makers on campus, the ADLab lab itself has been in existence for the last ten years and has evolved over time to encompass greater Maker design capability. With greater demand for design needs by Makers, formal SVAD classroom coursework associated with the ADLab was subsequently established. Student/Makers in the ADLab are exposed to practical design techniques that provide an avenue to building their respective design portfolios.
Harris Corporation Gathering Lab – An informal discussion and gathering area where Maker groups can meet and discuss their projects, and is located in the Engineering II Atrium, equipped with round white-board tables designed by UCF faculty.
Idea Lab – Makers enter this glass-enclosed spaced, also located in the Engineering II Atrium, to go through hosted brainstorming exercises, sketch out ideas on the walls and tables and use the idea-generating technology provided.
Texas Instruments Innovation Lab – Makers bring their ideas to this space, strategically located next to the Idea Lab, to quickly build prototypes with 3D printers, laser cutters, TI electronics components and test/development equipment, and other high-tech machines. Materials such as plastic, foam and metal are also available.
Manufacturing Lab – Makers can build and refine late-stage prototypes in this space, which includes heavy manufacturing equipment for cutting, bolting, sanding, etc.
Starter Lab - The Starter Lab is a growing community center for student starters/Makers from all disciplines, and provides 1,500 sq. ft. of space where students can collaborate and work on new venture ideas. The Starter Lab is a great place for students to collaborate with others and ‘noodle’ with preliminary innovation and new venture ideas. The space features meeting space, pervasive whiteboards and post-it notes, as well as materials and tools to experiment with preliminary ideas for innovative MVP’s associated with a variety of business ideas.
The greater UCF team maintains an active and high profile engagement with specific Maker shops in the local community. We have provided sponsorship funding and enabled staff collaborations to ensure that all member of the community are able to share ideas and operating best practices to the greatest extent possible.
In January 2015, UCF supported the visit of Lean Start-up expert, Dr. Jerry Engel from the University of California Berkley, who provided help with the kick-off of our new I-Corps program. During this visit, Dr. Engel spent two days in the Orlando area. UCF coordinated several presentations and personal engagements (both on UCF’s campus and in the third party Maker shops located in downtown Orlando) with the goal of energizing the greater starter/Maker community with his visit. A large number of start-up entrepreneurs (not directly connected with UCF) attended and had the opportunity to engage in detailed conversations with Dr. Engel about new businesses.
As a part of our efforts to enhance the entrepreneurial eco-system in the region, UCF maintains partnerships with a variety of Maker shops and entrepreneurial centers that require Making in support of MVPs. We provide sponsorships for Maker shops that are focused on enabling local starters – for example, CANVS (http://canvs.org) and the Starter Studio (http://starterstudio.com). In 2015, UCF will sponsor a local starter/Maker shop to host the first community-focused I-Corps-style class to provide Lean Start-up classroom engagement for local entrepreneurs. In addition, we also sponsor the National Entrepreneur Center (http://www.nationalec.org), co-located with our downtown incubator, which also creates demand for Maker shop use in the local entrepreneurial community.
Maker culture has expanded and deepened as a result of the investments made by the UCF across the various disciplines, and the investments made by UCF in a variety of community entrepreneurial efforts. Each discipline on campus has placed significant emphasis on the ability for students to deliver tangible projects, with many disciplines culminating in undergraduate capstone courses to include final deliverable projects that often require Maker shop use.
For example, as a part of engineering degree programs in the College of Engineering & Computer Science, senior design teams are expected to select a project to be delivered over a two-semester senior design course. These senior design projects have made significant and continuous use of the Maker shops in the engineering curriculum. So popular are these Maker Shops that they are often crowded with a larger variety of students. Even more interesting is the clear iterative experimentation that teams are now considering, as they work to refine their projects to find the optimal design – all enabled by the quick access to Maker shops and the flexibility of additive manufacturing.
Beyond the senior design requirements, Maker shops are kept busy with a new ground swell of students from across campus – those who want to learn to Make, and thereby turn their ideas into tangible products and enable their Business Models with a professionally finished and customer-friendly MVP.
In the Central Florida regional community, the investments by UCF to become a charter member of the various Maker shops in a variety of locations have enabled the establishment of new outlets to increase the ability for members of the community to gain access to a consistent and complementary set of resources and services, and thereby Make their MVPs.
In total, the impact has been to create a community of Starters: founders, artists, hackers, entrepreneurs and makers with the skills and experiences coming together to practice the art of starting things - http://ucfstarters.org/
1. Limbitless (student-based bionic arm, notable for it’s highly altruistic focus)
Team of UCF engineering students decided to use their skills in mechanical engineering and design to make an affordable prosthetic arm for a local boy. The story has inspired the attention of a wide range of people, including the actor, Robert Downey, Jr. The student team is now planning to create a non-profit that will enable donors to provide funds for other future worthy recipients.
Below is the latest news story on the UCF website:
The following video and the promotional video (which has gone viral, as a result of actor Robert Downey Jr.’s attention to this worthy cause).
2. Talon Simulations/ IFS Eagle: Immersive Flight Simulator
This senior design project turned start-up uses virtual reality (VR) technology in a low cost flight simulator – has received highly positive customer discovery, conducted with a variety of Florida-based commercial flight schools.
(CECS website story/ Brandon Naids winning challenge): http://www.cecs.ucf.edu/engineering-student-takes-top-prize-in-business-competition/
Talon’s company website: http://www.talonsimulations.com/
3. Knightrike (Award Winning UCF Human Powered Vehicle)
Knightrike was designed and built by seven mechanical engineering students, and raced to first-place finishes at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. The new vehicle won the endurance and innovation categories to earn the overall No. 1 rank, amongst entries by teams from 36 universities, who converged on the UCF campus to compete for cash prizes and bragging rights.
Need for Speed: #1 in the Southeast
4. 3D Printed Lung Phantom
The problem with current radiation therapy in lung cancer patients is the fact that the lung is moving (expanding/contracting) while therapy is delivered. This means healthy tissue is often damaged. Using 3D printing technology, UCF researcher Olesegun Ilegbusi’s goal is to create simulated lungs for patients that are an exact replica of the patient’s lung in size and motion. Before delivering radiation therapy to an actual patient, the radiologist can use the simulated lung to determine best method (location/duration) of therapy. This will enable precise radiation therapy that is customized to each patient.
Fox News story (note Dr. Ilegbusi was inadverdently not identified in this new story): http://www.myfoxorlando.com/story/27989706/ucf-artificial-lung-offers-new-hope-for-cancer-patients