Learning by Doing...Good. How Full Sail Students and Staff Create Tech with a Cause

Published November 23rd, 2020

Byline: Bridgette Cude

Technology degrees at Full Sail University take a hands-on, "learn by doing" approach much like their other degree programs in entertainment, media, and art. To support that approach, the university has invested in a campus that's rich with tech spaces and equipment including a Fab Lab, AR/VR Lab, Simulation Lab, Smart Lab, and UX Lab.

These spaces have given students and faculty alike the ability to create "tech for good" in areas like education, disability services, and healthcare.

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Creating for Good in the Fab Lab

With equipment ranging from 3D printers and injection molders to laser cutters and scanners, Full Sail's on-campus Fabrication Lab, or Fab Lab, is dedicated to hands-on creation. Students can use the lab for fabricating pieces they need in several areas of tech from simulation to AR and VR.

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The Fab Lab has been instrumental in several "tech for good" initiatives. For example, during the COVID-19 crisis, Simulation & Visualization Course Director Pat Starace also designed and fabricated a single-cam ventilator from the Fab Lab. The device automatically compresses an FDA-approved Bag Valve Mask (BVM).

No stranger to creating tech for a cause, Pat Starace also developed a prosthetic limb modeled after Iron Man's glove for a disabled eight-year-old boy. The "Iron Kid" prosthetic hand included an LED-lit palm, a remote alert system, universal remote control, stylus fingertips to allow interaction with touch screens, and a built-in game app.

Assistive Tech in AR/VR and Simulation

Simulation & Visualization students worked with a local organization, the Conductive Education Center of Orlando (CECO), to develop patented technology for individuals impeded by neurological motor disabilities. The device gamifies treatment to help patients with mobility exercises.

In 2018, Full Sail students developed Dental Madness, a virtual reality training simulation for dental students learning fundamental techniques in using a dental drill, dental mirror, and identifying gum disease. The game won the Serious Games Showcase & Challenges Innovation Award.

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