Maker space as teaching method -- Connection between an interdisciplinary product development course and a maker space

Matthias Helmut Friessnig, Alexander Pointner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


The course "Product Innovation Project" was founded in 2006 and the main idea is to bring students of different field of study together to work on projects and develop new products. The students have to work as a team to be able to create a solution to fulfill their complex tasks, given by industrial partners. So as we all know it is satisfying to pass an exam or made it through a tough course, but it is no comparison to the moment where you are able holding your own work in your hands. Key elements of organizational framework of “Product Innovation Project” are interdisciplinary, intercultural and international student teams. It shall impart the holistic view on the product development process, from idea generation until the market introduction.
We found out that a key aspect of this course is a fast and uncomplicated access to manufacturing machines. Students can generated far more ideas or rough product concept when a virtual 3D model is transformed in a physically existing prototypes. Moreover, experience shows that often only these prototypes allow proper evaluation of product size, materials and other important product attributes. Early prototyping as well as detailed research on the available solutions, their advantages and possible problems, their stage of maturity (research stage or available on the market) are the bases for an outstanding result and a small fabrication laboratory provides the right tools.
In addition, the idea of having a physical output is a long-­‐term motivation for every student and was reason enough for us to go further and give our students in Graz a place where they can manufacture their prototypes. Due to this reason, we decided to join the FabLab community in summer 2014.
Students need an environment to make their ideas real to ensure that their potentia
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventFab 10 - From Fab Labs to Fab Cities - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 2 Jul 20149 Jul 2014


ConferenceFab 10 - From Fab Labs to Fab Cities

Fields of Expertise

  • Mobility & Production


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