UCD Innovation Academy MakerSpace – a Creative Hub For All of UCD
By Jiaqi Zhang, Technology Integration Manager, UCD Innovation Academy
The UCD Innovation Academy MakerSpace is a creative hub for UCD students, staff and researchers from all disciplines, a place to forge new connections, learn future skills and bring innovative ideas to life, together.
Being a maker means embracing the “do it yourself” or DIY mindset and sustainability is an important feature of the Innovation Academy MakerSpace.
The MakerSpace offers a supportive environment for learners to practice hands-on skills with a range of technologies that will be vital for a circular economy—keeping products and materials in use and moving away from our existing take-make-waste extractive industrial model. On the launch of the MakerSpace last year, Professor Suzi Jarvis, founding director of UCD Innovation Academy explained, “if we are to truly tackle the problems our planet faces we need to reconnect with the world around us, understand the make-up and life cycle of objects, break down boundaries, and work together. The MakerSpace offers a unique opportunity to get hands-on, to learn from doing and to discover skills essential to a more sustainable future.”
Our MakerSpace, supported by UCD’s Human Capital Initiative project Convene, provides learners and makers with tools for digital fabrication, internet of things, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). We warmly welcome learners and colleagues from all backgrounds to visit the MakerSpace and learn how to use technology including 3D printing, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Vacuum Forming & Model Moulding, and Laser Cutting.
The spirit of the Innovation Academy MakerSpace is not powered by tools and technology, but by community and collaboration. Established in 2021, the Innovation Academy MakerSpace serves as a creative hub for UCD students, staff and researchers from all disciplines. Interdisciplinary conversations and collaborations emerge through the MakerSpace undergraduate module Designing the Future, monthly workshops, society events and partnerships with research initiatives.
We believe learning can be fun and so we’ve hosted a number of topical workshops at the MakerSpace. In December, we invited staff to the MakerSpace to design their own Christmas decoration, watch our laser cutter engrave their custom piece and then use Augmented Reality (AR) technology to bring their Christmas creation to life. We’ve also hosted Halloween Laser cutting workshop, Clothes Repair workshop during Climate Action Week, and have events planned for the upcoming UCD Green Week event.
Student-led society events have also been held at the Innovation Academy MakerSpace incorporating digital tools and cutting-edge technology. In one such example, the Drawing Society used VR to explore drawing in three dimensions and triggered music while painting in VR.
In conjunction with iCRAG, the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre in Applied Geosciences, the Innovation Academy MakerSpace team created an interactive terrain model using 3D printing and laser cutting to teach children about Irish geology. This project will be featured in the award-winning RTE TV show “Ten Things to Know About” .
Image of iCRAG interactive terrain model, taken by Cormac DeasyThe Innovation Academy MakerSpace is distinct from other MakerSpaces in higher education in Ireland and beyond (MIT Hobby Shop and Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Club for example) through its discipline neutral, networked, peer-led and experiential learning approach. It’s a space where innovators, of all kinds, bring ideas to life.
If you are interested in partnering with the Innovation Academy MakerSpace please get in touch with Eleanor.Kelly@ucd.ie
Sign up for updates from our MakerSpace here to learn about future events.