Molly Greenberg, education writer extraordinaire for InTheCapital, got “Cubed,” met Thor, and heard the story behind the DREAM vendor.
After taking in the Virginia Tech-Miami game Thursday night, @mollygreenberg relived on Friday the indescribable audio bombardment of Lane Stadium during the “Enter Sandman” bounce.
But this time, she experienced it in the Cube, the combination of a four-story black box theater and high tech laboratory shared by the Center for the Arts and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology.
Media engineer Tanner Upthegrove said the sound was previously recorded with multiple mics from the sidelines, giving the listener an auditory taste of what it is like to actually be on the field when the Hokies make their entrance. Being in the stands or seeing it on TV is plenty intense — this is amazing.
Next stop was Goodwin Hall, the research center formerly known as the Signature Engineering Building.
It was opportune timing with hundreds of researchers and students explaining their work for the official building dedication.
There stood Thor, in full operational glory.
In many ways, Thor is an answer to emergency such as the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster that befell Japan following a massive earthquake in March 2011. It is designed to do the dirty and dangerous jobs that would be fatal to human emergency responders.
Virginia Tech is at the forefront of this work, in the same breath as Carnegie-Mellon, Stanford, and MIT.
Later, as we moved through the building, Chris Williams, an associate professor of mechanical engineering, told us the origin story of the “DreamVendor,” a 3-D printing station pretty that operates pretty much like a snack machine. But instead of inserting money, dabblers or practitioners in the world of 3-D printing insert designs that they preloaded on an SD card.
Let the 3-D manufacturing begin.
The ID behind creating the machine was to bring 3-D printing to the masses. Williams said they wanted to find a way for the hundreds of students who enter mechanical engineering and related fields to jump right into the process, without having to get proof of principle or permission from a professor.
Mission accomplished. A DreamVendor stands at the entrance of Goodwin Hall as convenient as a soda machine.
But not nearly as loud as a Thursday night game at Lane Stadium.