Maker spaces boost student tech innovation

Colleges and universities are making room for students to be inventive and entrepreneurial.

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Where do college students go to tinker, build and test prototypes, and find commercial support for their ideas? Maker spaces.

Also known as entrepreneur labs or innovation centers, these studio spaces are cropping up at colleges and universities across the country. They’re outfitted with gear for designing, prototyping, testing and fabricating new products. There are 3D printers and laser cutters, workstations and whiteboards, meeting rooms and lounge areas. The idea is to create an environment that fosters creativity and collaboration through hands-on, project-based learning.

"It's a really large, open, physics lab-feeling environment,” says architect Leila Kamal, vice president of design & expertise at EYP Architecture & Engineering. "Maker space is designed for students to have a sandbox environment where they can create. It's a very entrepreneurial idea."

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