YSU Launch Lab part of first White House Maker Faire

Youngstown State University’s new Launch Lab, an initiative that combines engineering and art, is among the programs highlighted at the first White House Maker Faire today, June 18, in Washington D.C.

Martin Abraham, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is at the White House to represent YSU. The Faire, which President Obama is expected to attend, features makers, innovators and entrepreneurs using cutting-edge tools to bring life to ideas.

Abraham was invited to the White House to share information about Launch Lab, a joint initiative of the STEM College and YSU’s Department of Art. Abraham said the Lab, which is still under development, will allow science and engineering students to work collaboratively with art students to make cutting-edge and appealing products.

“In today’s commercial marketplace, it is important to not only produce technically- and functionally-sound products, but products that also are appealing and interesting to customers from an artistic standpoint,” Abraham said. “That is what Launch Lab will do.”

“This initiative will serve as a launch pad for ideas,” added Bryan DePoy, dean of the YSU College of Creative Arts and Communication. “Today’s electronic devices and products must look good, feel good and have some expressive meaning to them. Launch Lab will be the place where form meets function.”

The Lab will include 3-D printers, machining and woodworking tools, circuit boards and electronics and other equipment. Abraham and DePoy envision businesses using the lab, as well as high school classes.

The White House Maker Faire is part of the National Day of Making. To celebrate the day, the College of STEM will host an event 1 to 3:30 p.m. today, Wednesday, June 18, as part of the YSU Summer Honors Institute.

At the event in Room 2390 of Moser Hall, visitors will to be able to observe SHI students learning engineering design and analysis techniques, rapid prototyping and 3D printing, said Hazel Marie, associate professor and chair of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

Marie said each of the 17 SHI students in the class will choose an item to make. Past projects have involved boats, airplanes, cards, pendants and even a small-scale Sponge Bob. The students then design, model, analyze, test and print out their projects. “They go quickly through the entire engineering design process over the course of a week,” she said.

For more information on the White House Maker Faire, visit http://makezine.com/2014/06/04/white-house-maker-faire/.