August 16th, 2011
You may have heard the term ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, however there is more to invention than satisfying a need. Taking something from an idea to a useable object is a process and requires imagination, creativity, patience, skill and science. Many people have ideas about products or technology that could be used every day, but have little to no money, time or tools to develop, test and create a visual representation of their idea.
Historically inventors have had limited options to develop an idea into an invention. They either have to purchase the necessary equipment and materials and possess the technical know-how to build their invention, or they have to hire an individual or company to do the work for them. These options will take time, energy and resources that they may not have.
GWIZ in Sarasota is now revolutionizing the innovation process. They have launched a global, state-of-the-art personal fabrication lab that is open to the public.. The Fab Lab gives inventors access to bring their creations to life, opening the door so anyone, even a child, can bypass the traditional barriers to see an idea become an invention.
Molly Morgan, the director of GWIZ shares with us the latest and greatest addition to GWIZ along with her background and plans for the Faulhaber Fab Lab:
Q: What drew you to G-WIZ and subsequently the Fab Lab?
I have always loved science and the non-profit sector. After switching from the path of veterinarian medicine to the arts I pursued a career in non-profit management. That track led me to Sarasota and in turn to the opportunity of being the director of GWIZ.
The opportunity of combining both of my passions to run a science center is what drew me to GWIZ. When the most frequent assessment of your organization is “that’s really cool,” you know you’re in the right business. The mission of GWIZ – The Science Museum is to be the gateway for lifelong adventures in science but the overriding agenda behind the mission is to ignite imaginations… to show that the world around us is amazing, breathtaking and full of unanswered questions. My personal mission is to make geeks the cool kids in school and informal education facilities can make that happen. The idea of the Fab Lab was one that I was introduced to by Dr. Faulhaber. We share the passion of hands-on science education and what better way to expose people to science than empowering our community through personal fabrication.
Q: What is your vision for the future?
My vision is quality, quality, quality. I see the name GWIZ being synonymous with science, technology, engineering and math education throughout Sarasota County and the state of Florida.
Q: How did the Fab Lab come about?
A lot of hard work, creative thinking and generosity. We re-purposed our east wing from being the admin section of our building to a state of the art fabrication lab open to the public.
Q: What is the mission of the Fab Lab?
The Faulhaber Fab Lab’s mission is to spark innovation, collaboration, and creative problem-solving through alternative, ‘hands-on,’ learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, design, and math.
Q: Do you have plans to join the global Fab Lab community? If so, how would you interact with other Fab Labs around the world?
The Faulhaber Fab Lab is currently connected with the global community of Fab Labs as well as the United States network. There are several conferences each year for Fab Labbers and we make sure that GWIZ is represented at the conf. We also participate on the web network and share best practices.
Q: As a huge asset to the educational community, do you plan to partner with local schools and universities? What would that look like?
YES! We are working with the Sarasota and Manatee school districts to provide access to students through our area through field trips and after-school activities in the Lab. We are also partnering with universities and colleges in the area to make the lab available for all students whether studying architecture at USF Tampa or art at Ringling College. The more the merrier!
As a product development studio we look forward to the fantastic innovation that will come from local talented and imaginative individuals!