We recently stopped by to say "Hi" to our friend Tom Lutz at the Center for Bits and Atoms on the first floor of the new MIT Media Lab building. Tom was recently featured in the Human Powered Works show at Fourthwall.
The Center for Bits and Atoms is MIT's fabrication shop open to both students and advanced projects alike, but is also the home to investigation into "the interface between computer science and physical science." Hence, bits and atoms. Everything from quantum computing to genome sequencing to first year visual arts projects has passed through here. Lastly, the Center is the home base to Fab Labs - free maker shops open to the public found in every corner of the globe (and somewhat similar to our recent spotlight on sprout).
The main workshop at the Center is a two story open space with large work benches and lots of leg room. Side rooms included the apparently under-utilized welding room, a rapid prototyping and laser cutting room, and a room full of CNCs, brakes and shears.
Some of the tools of the trade include a 5-axis CNC, a 3-axis large bed router, and 3D digitizer for all your scanning needs. For a complete list of the tools available in the Center for Bits and Atoms, click here.
Two of the more random and fun finds at the Media Lab were this incredible high-resolution 3D-printed castle tower, complete with spiral staircase and double helix, and this chocolate CNC.
Projects from the Mediated Matter lab.
We spoke with members of the newest group at the Media Lab, Professor Neri Oxman's Mediated Matter group, which replaced the Smart Cities group after the recent passing of Bill Mitchell (R.I.P.). Mediated Matter focuses on biomimicry and fabrication technologies. Some of the projects include: palm tree-inspired 3D printing of continuous gradients in materials instead of "fake" discrete gradients; materials with granular particles inside that morph when a vacuum is introduced; and digitally reconfigurable molds similar to pin art toys.