A new innovation space on Imperial College’s campus in White City has opened,targetting collaboration with the local community, particularly its young people.
Designed as the first community engagement centre in the UK, the Invention Rooms of Imperial College London in Wood Lane opened to “anyone with an inquisitive mind” on Saturday 28 October 2017.
They are an opportunity for all ages in the local community to work alongside Imperial’s academics, students, alumni and partners to test out creative ideas and share the fun of discovery.
“It’s a golden chance to work shoulder-to-shoulder with scientists and innovators,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration. “We’re lucky to have this phenomenal centre on our doorstep”.
Young people can get free hands-on experience of designing and prototyping and open up all sorts of study and job opportunities.
The space includes cutting-edge equipment such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and wood and metalworking machinery, with a range of programmes designed to help young people embrace that old-fashioned concept of actually making things.
There are also programmes aimed at young people in Hammersmith & Fulham schools. With the support of Imperial staff and students, they’ll learn to use a range of making tools and techniques to turn ideas into reality.
They will gain skills from practical hands-on use of equipment to product development, team-building, presenting and communication skills.
Prof Maggie Dallman explained: “Partnership means listening to our local community’s needs, tapping into their talents, and – crucially – opening our doors.
“The Invention Rooms will be a beacon for community-driven innovation, channelling the energy and ambition of our neighbours and bringing local people together with Imperial staff and students to share in the excitement of science, discovery, and making.”
The Invention Rooms are a base for the college’s 2,500-strong network of entrepreneurs and inventors, with a bio-lab for synthetic biology and molecular fabrication.
Design successes of Imperial members include Faii Ong, inventor of the GyroGlove, which stabilises hand tremors of people who live with Parkinson’s, and Malav Sanghavi, who created a cardboard neonatal incubator for babies born with jaundice, perfect for use in the developing world.
Dr Oscar Ces said: “We are determined to make Imperial College’s ‘advanced hackspace’ one of the best in the world.”
Meanwhile a public events space opens in spring 2018, with a programme of events, activities, workshops and exhibitions.
In time, the rest of Imperial’s White City site will house further hubs for academic research, education and translation, community and commercial facilities, and housing.