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The Invention Studio: A university maker space and culture

Creativity, invention, and innovation are values championed as central pillars of engineering education. However, university environments fostering the kinds of open-ended design-build projects that embody these values are uncommon and, to the extent that they do exist, are underutilized.  The Invention Studio, a free-to-use, 3,000 square-foot maker space and culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology, is such an environment.  There, 500 student users per month hang out, create things, meet, and mentor each other for at least 25 courses as well as independent projects. The Invention Studio is managed and maintained by an undergraduate student group with support from the university.  Herein, we describe the motivation, organization, facilities, outreach, safety, funding, and challenges as well as its primary uses and impacts on student users.  These facilities, infrastructure, and cultural transformation are demonstrating the value and sustainability of hands-on, design-build education to stimulate innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship in engineering undergraduates.