Imperial College London designs an invention space for disadvantaged teens

Children at Imperial College London
Elsevier, Elsevier Connect, February 2017

For many teens, seeing a 3D printer build, layer by layer, the design they just completed on a nearby laptop is an awe-inspiring experience. These days, members of Imperial College London’s outreach team, armed with 3D printers and robots, are frequent visitors at neighborhood festivals in London’s White City neighborhood, where the college is building a new 23-acre campus.

White City is characterized as among the 10 percent most disadvantaged areas in the UK, with an unemployment rate twice the London average. As part of its commitment to the regeneration of the local area, Imperial’s community engagement team, led by Dr. Maggie Dallman, Associate Provost of Academic Partnerships and Professor of Immunology, is looking to excite the creativity and wonder of local young people by creating a unique space called “The Invention Rooms” for community-driven innovation. Located on a busy thoroughfare in west London, this space will comprise a series of workshops and public interaction spaces.

Within The Invention Rooms, a new Reach Out Makerspace will enable local young people ages 14 to 18 to create new prototypes based on their own ideas through a series of “maker challenge” programs.