Nebraska Innovation Studio: A space for students, staff and community to prototype their innovations
By Lilian Kaivilu
On a humid Monday afternoon, Dana Hoppe is visibly engraved into his assignment for the day at the Nebraska Innovation Studio. He calls it his passion. He is carving a stone sculpture; a job he started two months ago. “I have three more months to go,” he tells me as he takes off his safety glasses. His face is that of a busy person, perhaps keen to beat his five-month deadline that he has set for himself.
Inspired by the mosaic at the Lincoln’s capitol building, Hoppe set out, two months ago, to carve the sculpture made from alabaster stone. On his working space is the stone, his tools of trade and a book containing the drawing of the statue of the Greek god-Apollo. The stone weighs 120 pounds and cost him $50 cents per pound. Eventually, he hopes to have completed the statue of Greek god Apollo. He, however, does not plan to sell it.
Hoppe is a Computer Science student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. At the Nebraska Innovation Studio, he is eligible for space at a cost of $15 per month. Hoppe is one of the 300 active members at the innovation hub.
Last year, the studio recorded 1,200 users per month, offered 90 workshops and printed 100 3D teeth and bones of prehistoric horses found in Nebraska. The NIS also hosted seven summer camps for elementary, middle and high school students, designed 168 memorial stadium windows and enrolled 51 veterans. The latter was aided by a $50,000 gift that led to the launch of a veterans recovery programme. Under the programme, veterans get free mentorship and training on the mini-lathes and other equipment.
According to David Martin, director-Nebraska Innovation Studio the innovation is a significant space in helping innovators who may want to prototype their work. This includes students, members of staff, alumni and members of the community.
The 16,000 square-foot marketplace contains a world-class woodshop, CO2 lasers, 3D printers, CNC routers, lathes, screen printing, vinyl cutting, ceramics, electronics, sewing and weaving.