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Raleigh company's 'Betabox' brings 3D tech right to students

Posted March 17, 2015

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— Companies around the world are turning to 3D printers to create new things, but the technology isn't exactly common, especially for students who aren't studying at research institutions.

Betaversity, a Raleigh-based company, is working to change that with its Betabox – a blue shipping container that houses some of the most current 3D technology.

The box was at St. Mary's School in downtown Raleigh recently, helping students gets hands-on experience in a creative setting.

Senior Hayley Scialdone and her classmates worked on designing a new cellphone car charger.

"It's really cool. Interesting way to become an electrical engineer for the day," Scialdone said.

Students disasseembled a car charger to study the electronics and then used a laser cutter to design a creative new version.

The Betabox allows students at high schools, colleges and festivals across the Carolinas and Virginia to do the same.

"We have 3D printers, laser cutters, 3D scanners. But the focus is not really on technology, it's on these hands-on learning experiences," Nicholas Sailer, with Betaversity, said.

Sarah Little, the math department chair at St. Mary's, said she's excited students got a chance to think outside the box, collaborate and get creative.

"They're enjoying walking away with something tangible," Little said. "To have the product that they designed, they created, they soldered."

Scialdone agreed, saying she liked seeing the blend of science and creativity.

"Something in your mind, something that you map out, can become a reality in a product with this machine. It's exciting," she said.


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