Clearing the path to innovation and making at UC Berkeley, two of the campus’ flagship facilities, the CITRIS Invention Lab and the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, are launching a new joint Maker Pass enabling seamless access across their maker communities. For the first time, starting in fall 2016, campus community members will be able to use a single pass to access both of these spaces for prototyping and fabrication.
The new joint Maker Pass, open to Berkeley students, faculty, and staff, links Jacobs Hall, a 24,000-square-foot building opened in fall 2015 to support a range of design and making activities, with the CITRIS Invention Lab, a pioneer in the development of makerspaces for prototyping digitally-fabricated technologies at Berkeley. The Invention Lab, which opened in 2012 and provides resources and tools for rapidly prototyping interactive products, embedded sensing systems, and integrated mobile devices, served as a key inspiration and precursor in the conception of Jacobs Hall.
“CITRIS was an early and enthusiastic supporter of the vision of building makerspaces that are open to all of campus, and that attract a mixture of instruction, independent student work, and research. We learned a lot from the Invention Lab’s model when we designed our facilities in Jacobs Hall — but, until now, each had a completely separate membership program. The joint Maker Pass will enable pass holders to move across the two spaces, benefitting from their capabilities and maker cultures,” says Bjoern Hartmann, interim faculty director of the Jacobs Institute.
While continuing to support the campus community at large, the CITRIS Invention Lab will be re-launched this fall to provide more dedicated support for research and startups. “Since its inception, the CITRIS Invention Lab has been about the collaborative spirit of creativity, innovation, and making. The launching of this new joint Maker Pass marks an important step toward evolving that model to embrace even more of the diverse, creative culture of making across the Berkeley campus,” notes Eric Paulos, co-founder and current director of the CITRIS Invention Lab. The Invention Lab will also continue to provide support for startup teams within the CITRIS Foundry, a campus-based accelerator that helps UC entrepreneurs build transformative technology companies. The Jacobs Institute, for its part, will continue its mission to support and develop undergraduate design education efforts on campus, with Jacobs Hall supporting a cross-section of curricula and programs in this area.
The launch of the joint Maker Pass, which will be offered semesterly and will enable drop-in use of both spaces, will allow for a seamless flow between these two hubs of activity. “We are pleased to foster collaboration with the Jacobs Institute to drive the growth of an active, integrated community in which undergraduate students, advanced researchers, and entrepreneurial teams can work side-by-side, learning from each other in the process,” says Costas Spanos, Director of CITRIS and the Banatao Institute.
Jacobs Hall and the Invention Lab are part of a broader, rapidly growing ecosystem for design, innovation, and entrepreneurship in Berkeley’s College of Engineering. A variety of interdisciplinary centers, initiatives, and student organizations support and catalyze activity in these areas, while a network of student-focused fabrication labs (including, beyond Jacobs Hall and the Invention Lab, more specialized labs like the Mechanical Engineering Machine Shop and Chenming Hu Innovation Lab) provide tools for bringing ideas to life. In developing programs like the joint Maker Pass, the Jacobs Institute and CITRIS and the Banatao Institute aim to facilitate flexible movement throughout this expanding ecosystem — empowering students and researchers to draw from a broad base of resources in designing and developing our future technologies.