Carnegie Mellon’s roots as a technical trade school founded for the sons and daughters of steelworkers instills in us a deep appreciation of the power of “making things,” an approach to learning that has driven CMU’s educational experience for more than a century. Making at Carnegie Mellon has motivated decades of cross-disciplinary collaboration that brings together engineering, science, design, the arts, computer science, policy, and business.
The Integrative Design, Arts & Technology (IDeATe) Network creates a platform for this culture to evolve, through cross-disciplinary courses, faculty participation, spatial and equipment resources. IDeATe Courses are built for collaboration, as they are offered to any member of the campus community without prerequisites. Usually, co-taught by Faculty from multiple departments; students join together on group projects- embodying the truest forms of ideation, collaboration and innovation.
Spatial and equipment resources are offered as supportive tools, promoting positive experiences throughout the learning and instructional process. Faculty and students gain access to multiple maker technologies, allowing for the material realization of nonmaterial ideas. Although the IDeATe Network continues to grow, making is primarily supported through the IDeATe facilities, centrally located on-campus in Hunt Library.
IDeATe@Hunt Library provides multiple hybrid spaces, solely dedicated to the campus community’s continued development in collaboration and innovation. Within the first floor of the library, Studio A & B provide Community-Project spaces. Through the glass walls, the campus community may get a glimpse on-going courses on Virtual Reality, or on-going student projects.
Through the stairwell and into the basement, leads to the remainder of the facility’s 10,000 square footprint. The Physical Computing Lab (PCLab), Media Lab (MLab) and Experimental Fabrication Lab (eFab) provide workzones for similar processes with different communities. These hybrid community-project-machine spaces act as a classroom when necessary, but primarily serve a project-machine space for the IDeATe Community. The PCLab is a clean space where students focus their efforts on embedded computation and electronic prototyping; fully stocked with circuit boards, sensors, resistors, switches, LEDs, soldering stations and many other resources, tools or supplies that compliment their workflow. Across the hall, eFab provides a messy space dedicated to those experimenting, prototyping or building projects. Within eFab, two large spaces provide large-project build areas, morphing each semester from smart bathrooms to theoretical habitats on planet Mars. Accessible from this space, the Print Lab provides access to (3) 80-Watt Laser Cutters, multiple 3D Printing platforms, project and administrative storage space. Directly across the hall, the Media Lab establishes a work zone for the musicians, game developers, set-designers, theater artists, and interactive media specialists. This “black-box”, facilitates the needs of those looking to experiment with fast or slow motion capture systems, CGI/Special Effects, photography, videography, audio recording, small performance, set-design, projection, and CNC Lighting; infrequently serving as a band-practice space for IDeATe Members.
If the community can’t find what they need in the space, they can visit IDeATe Lending. The Lending Booth is staffed by IDeATe Students from 8am – 11pm throughout the week, and provides access to multiple resources for the IDeATe community. DSLR Cameras, tripods, power drills, projectors, VR Headsets, microphones, and Kinect controllers are only some of the items available for borrowing. Other items, such as Acrylic, Plywood, and Arduino Boards are available for purchase, typically at a discounted price. Most notably, several mobile computing platforms are available for course use, and borrowing. Over (50) Laptops, (20) Tablets, and (10) PC-Tablets are pre-loaded with all the software the faculty or student may require. The most popular, (40) Macbook Pros are dual-boot capable with Windows or MacOSx operating systems; outfitted with multiple applications, plugins and software packages supporting media, electronic or digital fabrication processes.
When the Lending Booth is staffed, the community also has access to Standard Fab and the CNC Lab. Neighboring the Lending Booth, Standard Fab supports traditional fabrication with tools such as belt-sanders, band saws, drill presses, and hand/power/pneumatic tools. Through a doorway, an 8′ x 4′ CNC router is available in the CNC Lab, along with a Benchman bench-top mill.