CNSI Innovation Workshop

"In theory, there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there is." – Yogi Berra

The CNSI Innovation Workshop – a makerspace facility – is under development in Elings Hall, envisioned as a resource to both local startups as well as the campus community. The Innovation Workshop will enable innovators from UCSB and local companies to build and test prototypes their inventions. Not all ideas work, not all workable ideas are practical, and not all practical ideas have the desired impact in solving important problems. The best way to develop ideas into impactful innovations is build, test, and persistently improve them. Creating a resource to do this is the goal of the CNSI Innovation Workshop.

The Workshop will fill a vital gap in campus resources: a place where any innovator can fabricate and test their ideas using tools that are well-suited for beginners. The tools in the student machine shop and cleanroom require extensive training and experience in order to make useful parts. This presents a barrier to new inventors. Having a first prototype in-hand to test can provide the motivation to learn to use the other labs.

3D printers, a laser cutter, and a CNC router – all with easy to learn user interfaces – make up the core tools in the Innovation Workshop. We have also included a workbench for assembling and testing electronic circuits, and one for programming and testing microcontroller-based machines. Hand tools for mechanical, electronic and plumbing assembly are also planned. Construction of the CNSI Innovation Workshop – installation of a fume hood and exhaust system – is set to complete in December 2017 and we expect to open the workshop to users in January of 2018.