|Maker Space under construction, courtesy Situ Studio|
"The culture of Making is perfectly aligned with the mission of NYSCI," said Margaret Honey, President and CEO of NYSCI. "Curiosity, creativity and collaboration all come together in the activities we have planned for the space, and the network of collaborators that will work with us in this new venue represent an inspiring pool of talent to give our visitors -- especially young children -- the tools they need to nurture the innate human tendency to be creative and see the world differently."
Maker Space is made possible thanks to an investment by Cognizant through its Making the Future education initiative. Making the Future seeks to inspire young learners to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by creating fun, hands-on learning opportunities. The initiative recognizes the importance of encouraging young people to develop skills like creativity, innovation and collaboration that will prepare the next generation of leaders in our global economy.
"The Maker movement is cultivating America's future innovators that will keep our country's vibrant technology culture alive," said Francisco D'Souza, Chief Executive Officer of Cognizant and member of the NYSCI board of trustees. "Cognizant is thrilled to introduce a new generation to Making, fostering innovation, a passion for learning and hands-on creativity for years to come."
The initial outfitting of Maker Space includes a range of equipment, tools and other resources that will facilitate both physical and digital Making projects. This includes an in-kind donation from SINGER Sewing Company of 18 SINGER® sewing machines, a garment steamer, finishing iron and other equipment that will be used in workshops that teach the basics of sewing and quilting, as well as an introduction to the use of soft circuits and conductive fabrics that can be used in clothing and other applications.
"Sewing machines have experienced a technological evolution, and SINGER® sewing machines have been on the forefront of these advancements for 160 years. Today's SINGER® sewing machines feature intuitive technology, such as push-button stitch selection, and one touch threading systems, that make expressing creativity simpler," said Gary Jones, President of Mass Market for SINGER. "This is no longer your grandmother's sewing machine. The SINGER® brand has a long history of sewing innovation and by making it easy to use sewing machines, we are providing the gateway to sewing for people of all ages."
Other projects planned for Maker Space include sessions on the basics of soldering, circuitry, programming using open-source hardware such as Arduino, plus a range of age-appropriate Making activities geared specifically for schoolchildren and families.
Maker Space was designed and built by the Brooklyn-based firm Situ Studio. For Maker Space, Situ designed a plywood 3-pin arch structure that celebrates themes of craft, assembly and connection. The structure encloses approximately 1,200-square-feet and incorporates a modular system of acoustical panels, display cases and storage units that tie into an array of threaded perforations. Moveable furniture elements tuck into the plywood structure to free up the floor space as necessary.
"Situ Studio and the New York Hall of Science share the conviction that the act of making itself can and should become a generative part of both learning and design," said Situ's Wes Rozen. "We are thrilled to be able to work with the New York Hall of Science on Maker Space as it is a project which, in many ways, is the embodiment of these values."
Beginning with the inaugural World Maker Faire in 2010, NYSCI has launched a series of programs that promote the do-it-yourself (DIY) culture. In particular, Making projects often focus on engineering-oriented themes such as electronics, robotics and the use of emerging digital technologies like 3-D printers and computer-controlled tools. Making projects also incorporate traditional DIY disciplines like arts and crafts, woodworking and metalworking. Maker Space will be a venue with activities touching on all of these disciplines. Programs will be produced by NYSCI and also developed in collaboration with guest artists, developers, hackers and others from across the broader Maker community.
Maker Space will be officially unveiled later this month, but the Space has already hosted its inaugural project. Last month, NYSCI collaborated with singer-songwriter Björk to present the Biophilia Education Series as part of the artist's just-completed New York City residency. In addition to six performances at NYSCI, Maker Space was the site of a three-week education program that introduced 60 Queens middle-schoolers to the fundamentals of music composition through the use of iPads, Lemurs and other digital music-making tools.
NYSCI will unveil its comprehensive Maker Space program roster later this spring. For more information, visit nysci.org.
Cognizant is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the world's leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50 delivery centers worldwide and approximately 137,700 employees as of December 31, 2011, Cognizant is a member of the NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing and fastest growing companies in the world. www.cognizant.com
ABOUT NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCE
New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) presents 450 exhibits, demonstrations and design spaces that explain science, technology, engineering, and math. A visit to NYSCI is a hands-on, energetic educational experience where you can indulge your curiosity and nurture your creativity. NYSCI offers professional development for teachers, produces curricula and resources for classrooms, and studies how technology, gaming and play affect how we learn. www.nysci.org