Robots, 3D printers, Hyperloop pod: New MakerSpace opens at NYU Tandon

Will boost Brooklyn's 'innovation economy'

September 20, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Computer engineering student Matt Cocca with a prototype for a braking system for the Hyperloop pod, at NYU Tandon’s new MakerSpace. Photo by Mary Frost
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Computer engineering student Matt Cocca plugged a cable into a tabletop pneumatic piston.

“This is a braking system for the Hyperloop pod,” he told this reporter.

Cocca and his fellow engineering students are competing to design and build the best Hyperloop (a super-fast ground transport system) pod in a contest sponsored by Elon Musk and SpaceX, he explained.

In another corner, John Knox, a computer science student with a love of robotics, was working on a prototype of a 3D appendage that will attach to a harness on his back and perform useful functions.

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“It’s going to use machine learning to teach itself how to move,” he said.

Both students were fabricating their prototypes in the new MakerSpace at NYU Tandon School of Engineering in Downtown Brooklyn.

On Tuesday, newly inaugurated NYU President Andrew Hamilton and a host of officials including Borough President Eric Adams, state Senator Martin J. Golden and Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon officially cut the ribbon on the bi-level, 10,000-square-foot space.

Students filtered into the area to try out the 3D printers, laser cutters, milling machines, electrical benches and other maker-type equipment.

“The 3D printers are running 24/7,” said Victoria Bill, the manager of MakerSpace. Students can use filament extruders to recycle plastic filaments for the 3D printers, Bill said.

Students can use these filament extruders to recycle plastic filaments for the 3D printers. Photo by Mary Frost

The facility also includes an event space, where skills can be shared, and co-working areas.

“We’re talking to Ibeam; we want to get high-level collaborations going,” Bill said. “We’re also working with NYU incubators.”

All of NYU Tandon’s students will be able to use the facility, starting as freshmen.

With special training, students will have the opportunity to work on commercial-grade machinery seldom available at universities, the school says. These include a powerful water-jet cutter; a high-speed “pick and place” machine, used to place electronic components onto printed circuit boards; and a micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) unit, among other equipment.

While MakerSpace is limited to NYU students now, the university plans to do outreach and partner with local Brooklyn schools and teachers in the future.

NYU Tandon (formerly known as Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute), says the space will help fuel the “innovation economy and maker movement across Brooklyn.”

John Knox, a sophomore, demonstrates a 3D appendage that will attach to a harness on his back. Photo by Mary Frost

MakerSpace manager Victoria Bill shows the department’s largest laser cutter. Photo by Mary Frost

A few of the items 3D printed by students in the new MakerSpace. Photo by Mary Frost

L-R: Jennifer Hamilton, Dean Katepalli Sreenivasan, President Andrew Hamilton, NYU Board of Trustees Vice Chair Chandrika Tandon, New York State Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon and state Sen. Martin Golden. Photo courtesy NYU Tandon

Photo by Mary Frost

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