Today, Luisa Colombo, a student and Marketing Assistant at uCreate Studio, shares the exceptional story of students who used the University’s makerspace to develop ground-breaking technology…
The uCreate Studio is the University of Edinburgh’s Community Makerspace offering equipment, advice, training and support to help members of the University community make (almost) anything! Makers can be creative and develop projects with a range of technology such as 3D printers, 3D scanners, cutting and milling machines, electronics boards and VR/AR equipment. Every day, the makerspace team supports students and staff by delivering curriculum-embedded workshops, providing advice on projects, holding training sessions, and maintaining equipment for makers to experiment in a collaborative, safe and friendly environment. We strongly believe in helping our community develop the necessary digital skills to generate innovative and brilliant ideas that will make our world better and more sustainable.
Last month, we had the pleasure to catch up with George Dzavaryan, a University of Edinburgh graduate with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering and the Technical Director of Augment Bionics. This start-up, founded at the University in 2017 by Pedro Damas and Hubert Taczyński, aims to develop functional, affordable, and accessible 3D-printed prosthetics. The idea was initially developed by Damas as a solution to a problem common among prosthetics users in the UK: The market offers a wide range of high-functioning prosthetics for upper-limb amputees but at an average rate of £8,000. This high price tag means that many people in need of prosthesis are unable to afford them, even with NHS budget funding.
Inspired by the low cost of 3D printers, especially when combined with user-friendly electronics, Augment Bionics found that it could help people by building affordable and high-functioning devices. Pedro’s passion for mechatronics inspired him to develop the blueprints for the project, which materialised into the creation of Augment Bionics and the formation of a team of talented University of Edinburgh students from various disciplines. Considering Edinburgh’s long history in prosthetic development, dating back to 1998 with David Gow, it’s great to see Edinburgh University students continuing to innovate in this field. Moreover, Augment Bionics plans to enter emerging markets in South-East Asia and Africa, where the need for cheap, high-tech prosthetics is even more urgent.
The story of Augment Bionics highlights the important role our makerspace plays in the development of new digital skills and shows how such skills profoundly impact how we live, work and play. At uCreate Studio users can design and create prototypes, test new ideas and experiment with new technologies (for free!). Even if the first prototypes do not work properly, we never consider that a failure. We keep these “failed” creations on display as a reminder that every time something needs to be remade, it is an opportunity to learn and improve. We are always there to support users and make sure that people never give up on their ideas.
uCreate Studio is located in rooms 1.11 and 1.12 on the first floor of the Main Library, George Square. Staffed 10am – 8pm, Monday to Friday and accessible (to inducted makers) from 8am to 1am, 7 days a week. The studio, equipment, and support staff are available to support courses across the University. Find us online at here or pop in for a chat to find out how to incorporate innovative technologies in your teaching.