When I first walked into the X-Labs classroom 12 weeks ago, I was initially overwhelmed by the very idea of the technologies we would have the opportunity to use. To me a 3D printer only existed in really high-level research facilities, or movies. Only a small number of our group members had worked in the X-Labs before, so going into this class was all very new and exciting for the majority of us. However, everyone in our group got to use and learn about new technologies and the potential of interdisciplinary work this semester.
The biggest advantage the X-Labs provided our group was the Nova Labs individuals support through telepresence robots, and the use of the 3D printers. The physics students in our group feel that the ability to speak with the Nova Labs consultants every week has helped in the prototyping stage of our project. They are very knowledgeable about how to make the drone operate efficiently, but these projects are challenging for the entire team and being able to ask questions and receive feedback from experts has been invaluable.
Technologies like the 3D printer, thermo former, and laser cutter that our Industrial Designers have introduced us to have also opened up doors for our creative development process throughout the entire semester. The set up of the class in the X-Labs helped facilitate this because while some of our group worked on attaching elements of our claw to the prototype, the Industrial Designers were making shells for the drone and creating the designs for our 3D printed stilts.
We have all learned a great many things from collaborating with individuals we might never have gotten to outside of this class. I have never been part of a class that is so heavily based in physics, but the class has helped me learn as much as I can about the topics. We believe that an interdisciplinary approach to projects is something all college students can benefit from.
By Becky Rosen