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Open Lab Training and Manufacturing During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Update: With the Oakland campus returning to Elevated Risk Posture, Open Lab is no longer able to accept manufacturing requests of any kind. Please continue reading to review our Elevated Risk Posture guidelines and for more information about our online training resources.

Open Lab remains committed to our mission during the COVID-19 crisis. We are working to observe University guidelines, refrain from creating additional opportunities for infection risk to our community, while continuing to provide support and resources for Pitt community members to incorporate emerging technologies into their teaching and learning.

While we are not able to facilitate any in-person activities, manufacturing, or equipment lending at this time, we are excited to announce the launch of Open Lab @ Canvas, an online space featuring training materials for a variety of tools as well as virtual support from our team.

When the Oakland campus re-enters the Guarded Risk Posture, Open Lab hopes be able to deliver manufacturing capabilities and limited equipment loans, both with contactless pickup procedures. Students will be required to complete virtual training beforehand in order to be familiar with the processes they are contracting out to us. Please note that for safety reasons there will be no in-person Virtual Reality services until further notice.

As conditions in our world and the University continue to change at a rapid pace, this temporary operational plan is subject to change.

Faculty members who would like to discuss integrating Open Lab’s resources into their teaching are encouraged to email us at open-lab@pitt.edu.

For more information on Open Lab’s availability for the Spring Term, read our current operational plan below.

Open Lab remains committed to our mission during the COVID-19 crisis. We are working to observe University guidelines, refrain from creating additional opportunities for infection risk to our community, while continuing to provide support and resources for Pitt community members to incorporate emerging technologies into their teaching and learning.

While we are not able to facilitate any in-person activities at this time, our online space Open Lab @ Canvas features training materials for a variety of tools as well as virtual support from our team.

Open Lab is offering limited manufacturing capabilities with contactless pickup during the summer term. Please review our equipment-specific guidelines before submitting a manufacturing request. Everyone except for instructors/TAs requesting teaching-related items will be required to complete virtual training beforehand in order to be familiar with the processes they are contracting out to us. While all project requests are welcome at this time, course- and research-related requests will be prioritized over personal projects. Faculty members who would like to discuss integrating Open Lab’s resources into their teaching are encouraged to email the Open Lab.

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Please note that for safety reasons there will be no Virtual Reality services until further notice.

As conditions in our world and the University continue to change at a rapid pace, this temporary operational plan is subject to change.

For more information on Open Lab’s availability, read our current operational plan below.

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Due to University guidelines, Open Lab locations will be closed for public services until further notice. For information about services currently available to instructors of Pitt courses, or for inquiries about services in future terms, please contact us at open-lab@pitt.edu. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Open Lab: Operating in a Modified Status

The Open Lab is currently operating in a modified status at this time. As a result, some services may not be available or adjusted to align with University health and safety guidelines. During this modified status, we offer the following:

  • Training: Online training is available through asynchronous Open Lab @ Canvas (OL@C) modules or through remote consultation and training. No in-person training is offered at this time.
  • Services: No public access inside Open Lab locations.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing may be completed by Open Lab student staff after members have completed required online training. Members may submit project files remotely for completion and submissions will be considered but not guaranteed. Completed items will be available for contactless pickup at Open Lab at Hillman at designated times. Printing/cutting video streams are also available on our website.

Open Lab staff will reassess our procedures regularly to determine how our services can be adjusted to align with evolving University health and safety regulations. We appreciate your understanding.

Open Lab Functions in High Risk Posture

  1. Training: Online training available through asynchronous Open Lab @ Canvas (OL@C) modules or through remote consultation and training.
  2. Services: No equipment lending available; manufacturing limited to fulfilling requests for personal protective equipment (PPE) from University and local sources at Open Lab staff discretion.

Open Lab Functions in Elevated Risk Posture

  1. Training: Online training available through asynchronous Open Lab @ Canvas (OL@C) modules or through remote consultation and training.
  2. Services: No equipment lending available; manufacturing limited to fulfilling requests for PPE from University and local sources at Open Lab staff discretion.
  1. Training: Online training available through asynchronous Open Lab @ Canvas (OL@C) modules or through remote consultation and training. No in-person training.
  2. Services: No public access inside Open Lab locations.
    • Manufacturing: Manufacturing completed by OL student staff after members have completed required online training. Members submit project files remotely for completion. Material requests considered but not guaranteed. Completed items available for contactless pickup at OL@H at designated times. Printing/cutting video streams may be available on Open Lab website.
  3. Open Lab staff will reassess the efficacy of Guarded Risk Posture (GRP) procedures after three weeks of sustained GRP to determine what services can be added or subtracted and whether to loosen course-only restrictions.

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  1. Training: Online training available through asynchronous Open Lab @ Canvas (OL@C) modules or through remote consultation and training. No in-person training.
  2. Services: All services limited to course-related projects. No public access inside Open Lab locations.
    • Lending: Limited equipment loans available through contactless pickup/drop off in or outside OL@H at designated times. Equipment quarantined and cleaned when returned.
    • Manufacturing: Manufacturing completed by OL student staff after members have completed required online training. Members submit project files remotely for completion. Material requests considered but not guaranteed. Completed items available for contactless pickup at OL@H at designated times. Printing/cutting video streams may be available on Open Lab website.
  3. Open Lab staff will reassess the efficacy of Guarded Risk Posture (GRP) procedures after three weeks of sustained GRP to determine what services can be added or subtracted and whether to loosen course-only restrictions.

Open Lab Campus Spaces

Open Lab @ Hillman

Open Lab @ Hillman is a collaboration between the University Center for Teaching and Learning and the University Library System. Through workshops, class sessions, consultations and trainings, we aim to connect the Pitt community with technology for hand-on making and experiential learning. Drop in to experience virtual reality, learn to 3D print, use a vinyl cutter,or borrow a 360 degree video camera.

Open Lab @ Alumni

Open Lab @ Alumni is our main production site, where you'll find multiple 3D printers, a laser cutter and engraver, workbenches and tools for finishing projects, and other resources. Approved users (training required) are welcome to access this space during drop-in hours to work on modeling, printing, cutting, and finishing projects. The lab is located in Suite B12 adjacent to Classroom Services.
400+
Faculty, staff, and students who participated in training sessions since Fall 2019
1000+
Walk-in customers since Fall 2019
25
Training sessions during the 2019-20 academic year

Available Technologies

Faculty Projects Created With the Help of the Open Lab

3D-printed brain section

Students design 3D brain models to learn and teach neuroanatomy

The human brain is an incredibly complex 3D structure that is difficult to comprehend using only 2D images. However, visualizing the 3D structures of brain components and their spatial relationships is critical for understanding brain function and diagnosing neurological disorders. Students in Erika Fanselow’s neuroanatomy course tackle this by designing 3D models of multiple related brain structures based on measurements made from 2D images such as brain scans. In conjunction with Pitt’s Open Lab, students use web-based modeling software to develop and print their models. This project facilitates students’ conceptualization of brain structures and allows them to teach their peers.

360-degree video header

Students Document Archaeological Sites With 360-Degree Video

The creative seed was planted about a year ago when Dr. Jacques Bromberg, assistant professor in the Department of Classics, read a story about an emerging innovative technology offered by the Teaching Center: virtual reality [VR]. It sparked immediate enthusiasm in Dr. Bromberg — as faculty director of the Pitt in Sicily program, he saw a fantastic opportunity to use VR technology in the study abroad program. But how? Pitt in Sicily is designed for students interested in the history and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean. The class, consisting of about 15 undergraduate students, focuses on “Greek Archaeology through exploration of archaeological locations,” according to Dr. Bromberg. With so many picturesque settings to capture, one particular technology in the VR toolkit proved to be a perfect match for Dr. Bromberg’s needs: 360-degree video.

The Teaching Center’s Open Lab is a makerspace dedicated to inspiring and facilitating excellence and innovation in teaching and learning at the University of Pittsburgh. Our mission is to provide the support and resources necessary for anyone in the Pitt community to incorporate emerging technologies into their teaching, while providing a supportive environment for members of the Pitt community to engage in exploratory learning through making.

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