The nationwide chain of makerspaces known as the TechShop franchise has partnered up with Fujitsu the Japanese multinational IT equipment manufacturer to produce a mobile makerspace ready to hit the road.
Inside the 24 foot trailer is a wide variety of high tech tools including mini 3D printers, laser cutters, and laptop computers all stocked in an effort to bring a hands-on learning environment to nearby schools.
Details of the joint venture were released at the 1st Annual World Open Innovation Conference hosted at the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation located on the University of California, Berkeley.
As the press release from TechShop states, this project “underscores a commitment to education and to increasing youth’s creativity and interest in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) fields through ‘learning by making,’ offering students hands-on activities and access to technologies.”
Photos quickly surfaced on Twitter quickly the unveiling the ‘TechShop Inside!’ mobile makerspace showing that there was plenty of space to fill up the trailer with people and rapid prototyping equipment. They even added a few strips of LEDs giving the the inside lighting a colorful effect.
Additional pictures that emerged during the event provide additional technical specifications about the portable makerspace on wheels. For instance, it looks like the exhaust tubing for the laser cutter has been routed expertly underneath the workshop tables keeping it out of the way. In addition all the equipment is powered by an external generator.
We’ve seen mobile makerspaces similar to this before. A group of Stanford d.school students, for example, drove an old delivery truck turned makerspace aptly named the SparkTruck from California to Massachusetts during the summer of 2013.
The next year a separate journey was started by two pioneering artists who embarked on a tour with their Solar Airstream Fab Lab mobile workshop studio, fully equipped with both 3D printing and metal casting equipment. MAKE has also done something similar during an Ultimate Maker Vehicle contest where inventors submitted design entries ending in the repurposing of a Ford Transit Connect into The Hackmobile.
Now, TechShop and Fujitsu will continue the trend of mobile makerspaces hitting the road spreading knowledge wherever they go. Talks have already been established for the TechShop trailer to visit a couple of Northern California educational organizations and institutions including Mulberry School, Brentwood Academy, Design Tech High School, Los Altos School District, SIATech, San Jose libraries, and Santa Clara County libraries.
The inaugural tour kicked off at the World Open Innovation Conference in Napa, California with plans to travel from school to school in the San Francisco Bay area providing students with fascinating new ways to learn.
To learn more, watch the video below that describes the development process of the TechShop mobile makerspace. It gives an inside look into where the idea for the trailer came from.