Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 2, 2014

NMC eyes 'innovation center'

(Continued)

Students now use several different rooms to map out and create their inventions, including the "hackerspace" for programming and a "makerspace" to construct their projects.

“I halfway live my life in makersbay,'” said student David Couturier, a sophomore from Lake Leelanau, who used a slightly different name. "We have access to all the electronics, all the tools, all in one place."

Couturier previously created a polymer platform to allow the attachment of a Go Pro video camera to a remote-contro iRobot. Chinese students from Dalian University of Technology tested out the iRobot -- without the Go Pro -- and happily zipped it around a cavernous room one day last week.

Rachel Jurik, a junior, said she drew the head of a golf putter on a computer; a high-end 3-D "printed" it out, a process that took about 10 hours.

"You can come up with any shape you want, even guns. You can print out any amount of parts and throw them together, as long as they fit," she said.

Allowing public access to the 3-D printer would require solving a number of issues, including liability, fees and rules. The "innovation center," as Bailey would like to call it, could open as early as fall.

"That's my hope," Bailey said. "The community has the need, but the priority has to be the students. We'll have to balance all of that."

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