Inventables, Shapeoko and science education!

The “unexpected properties” of many products available at Inventables are useful in communicating scientific principles and the process of inquiry into science.  The Materials Research Laboratory at the University of California Santa Barbara hosted a science teacher workshop in spring of 2012 to present curriculum projects  developed with local teachers.   Inventables products relating to “wearable materials”, “photonic crystals” and “graphene” were highlighted as part of a “materials for inquiry” session.  These products included temperature sensitive cloth, conductive textiles, suction cup tape, non-slip surface, super absorbent fibers, phase change materials, radiant light film, shape memory polymer and conductive paint!   For more information and for lesson ideas visit:

Desktop manufacturing and "materials for inquiry":

Desktop manufacturing presents an outstanding opportunity to engage young scholars into scientific discovery.  The MRL education outreach program is currently exploring how the Shapeoko desktop cnc can assist our mission to improve access to science for diverse groups and build a competent work force of scientists and engineers.  We expect many great projects and an early example is in “soft robotics” for the classroom.  Soft robotics is an exciting field pioneered by the George Whitesides group at Harvard.  Using shapeoko and a software workflow using “Meshcam Art” we have been able to achieve good results in large part thanks to the hard work by the folks at Inventables!  In addition to the Shapeoko we are using “Easily machinable wax” for the molds and “silicone rubber”  for the robots themselves (see pictures).  Much more to come eventually on our “resources for teacher” webpage!

Our 2013 science teacher workshop will utilize hand moldable plastic among other very interesting materials, for a sneak peek visit High School teacher Chuong Vu’s curriculum highlights page (more to come).

Cheers to the great efforts of the Inventables team in support of science in particular Zach Kaplan, Edward Ford and Phil Lomac!


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