RCBI to improve accessibility to public makerspace
The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University will install specialized furniture and equipment in its Huntington makerspace to make 3D printers and other technology more accessible to individuals with mobility impairments, thanks to a grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
The late actor and his wife created the foundation to advance innovative research and improve quality of life for individuals and families impacted by paralysis.
“Mobility impairment should not prevent members of our community from realizing their making potential,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI director & CEO. “Whether they are entrepreneurs, hobbyists, inventors or business owners, everyone will have easier access to the latest equipment, tools and technology we provide at RCBI.”
Additions to the Maker Vault will include height-adjustable tables, push-button-controlled tool stands, self-propelled work carts, weight-reducing tool tethers and high-resolution adjustable monitors – among other improvements. The upgrades are expected to be complete by late summer.
RCBI staff will work with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offices and other service agencies to inform individuals with mobility issues about the making opportunities available at RCBI. “We want everybody to be able to use and enjoy all our makerspace has to offer,” Weber said. “We are grateful to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation for its generous support, which will allow people with differing abilities to engage in the do-it-yourself experiences we offer.”
The RCBI Maker Vault provides community access to 3D printers, laser engraver, vinyl cutter, vacuum forming system, soldering and electronics equipment and other technology complemented by hands-on instruction. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Vault is open by appointment only. Monthly memberships are $25.