Imperial welcomed Emma Dent Coad, MP for Kensington, to The Invention Rooms at the College's new White City Campus.
Hosted by Professor Maggie Dallman, Imperial’s Vice-President (International) and Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships), Ms Dent Coad got an insight into how Imperial is boosting innovation at White City and forging links with the local community.
The Invention Rooms, which opened in autumn last year, is a pioneering space at the College’s White City campus which brings community engagement and cutting-edge innovation together under one roof.
During the Ms Dent Coad visited the Advanced Hackspace, a unique one-stop workshop facility for staff, students, alumni and commercial partners to access specialist prototyping and manufacturing equipment. These facilities include workshop technologies, such as robotics and 3D printing, and a bio-lab, which enables synthetic biology and molecular fabrication.
Here, two undergraduates from Imperial’s department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Thomas Hartley and Ben Withers, presented their ‘Escape Room’. This is a single person, portable escape room themed around being a spaceship escape pod where participants are tasked with solving puzzles in order to safely escape. The pair developed the escape room through the Level Up! competition, one of a series of activities that form part of My Summer of Hack at the Advanced Hackspace.
The Escape Room was recently showcased at the Electromagnetic Field Festival, a non-profit UK camping festival for those with an inquisitive mind or an interest in making things.
Ryan White, the Advanced Hackspace Manager, also demonstrated to Ms Dent Coad how specialised 3D printers can be used to build accurate models with internal moveable parts.
The MP was also shown the Reach Out Makerspace - a workshop and design studio in The Invention Rooms for young people from the local community to get hands-on experience of making and prototyping. The space runs a runs a series of programmes for school children from the White City area to teach them how to make just about anything – from wearable technology to household gadgets.
Ms Dent Coad heard about the Maker Challenger programme, which is inspiring the next generation of inventors, hackers and entrepreneurs from the local community. First prize in this summer’s Maker Challenge was awarded to Wallington High School for Girls pupil Fahreen with her project Snorzzzz-Sleepy Head, which addresses the problem of new parents spending hours rocking their child to sleep by creating a self-rocking cradle.
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