The school also has its own solar plant so in the spirit of keeping with its green initiatives, Faust wanted to make sure the displays wouldn’t run contrary. He determined that using the NEC displays, the entire video wall would only consume the equivalent of two 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, which certainly met the criteria.
After using the workstations, students can go one of two routes. If they’re creating a physical object, the students will head to the 3D printing lab where they will find two MakerBot 3D printers as well as a Stratasys UPrint 3D printer. If the students are creating a software program then they would program arduinos while their classmates work on prototype parts. The final step in this manufacturing process is a shop with things like a table top saw, drills, a laser cutter and a lathe. If the students’ projects involves software or robotics then they might head over to the mechatronics lab instead. There they can add electrical components to their design to create things like levers, a motor, etc,.
The Sigma lab was built entirely with community funds. The city had dogeared money for STEM initiatives from its local capital improvement fund. This may be the first year students have had access to the Sigma lab, but the school is already reaping the benefits.
“Our zero robotics team just took second in the world so that was an immediate return we hadn’t necessarily expected,” Faust says. This is the highest the team has ever ranked.
The school is also seeing an interest in the Sigma Lab from disciplines outside of the sciences. An Anthropology class used the lab’s 3D printers to create replicas of skulls for early humanoid beings. The student were able to touch, hold and observe the skulls, driving home their differences. Faust expects other subject areas to begin using the lab to a greater extent as well.
When asked if he would change anything, Faust says, “It sounds cliche and cheesy, but I have not heard anything to the effect of we should have done this differently. The design is working out really well and the technology that’s in the space is working out really well.”