Thanks to Alex Widstrand ’17, a senior Engineering major and Design Thinking Initiative student, there is now a brand new prototyping cart for students to use in the KnowledgeLab. This cart has an assorted supply of useful and creative items, from colored pencils, glue sticks, and scissors to balloons, yarn, and Legos.
Alex worked with the KnowledgeLab staff to order the materials and assemble the cart. “As a student worker for the Design Thinking Initiative, one of the main projects I’m working on is enabling students across campus to have access to prototyping materials,” says Alex. She clarifies that absolutely everyone can use the materials in the cart.
Alex says that “one of the biggest parts of the design thinking approach to problem-solving is prototyping, in order to test how a user interacts with your design. We want everyone to have access to the materials and tools they need to build and test their ideas.”
Another interesting aspect about the cart is that it will most likely be constantly changing. Some standard materials will probably remain in supply, but “other things change due to popularity, availability, or even what other people contribute to the cart,” says Alex. “That’s part of what makes prototyping interesting – there is always something new and inspiring to work with.”
Alex encourages students to suggest materials they might want to see in the prototyping cart, though it will ultimately depend on what is affordable. She also pointed out that if students are looking for more advanced technologies to use, “our laser cutter, 3D printer, vinyl cutter, and 3D-printing pens can be found in Capen Annex.”
The honor system is in place here as the materials are left out in the KnowledgeLab, so we hope that students will return reusable items, especially glue guns, Legos, scissors, etc. “Since we don’t yet have a system in place for checking things out, we hope students are considerate of others; however, it would be possible in the future to move toward a system for checking items in and out for use elsewhere, similar to the Center for Media and Production.”
I for one am super excited to test out all the new materials now available. If you ever need a new space for drawing, knitting, crafting, or any other creative outlet you can think of, the KnowledgeLab is now the perfect place to do it. Alex recommends that other students suggest their ideas for the space through the KnowledgeLab mini-grants program. “All in all, I think it was a fairly straightforward process; I would definitely encourage other students to submit ideas or suggestions for ways to improve the space even further. It never hurts to ask!”
About the Author:
Tori Clayton is a Junior at Smith College who is majoring in both English and Music. She is a Libraries Project Assistant in Neilson Library.