Innovation Lab grand opening aboard Camp Foster

by Cpl. Jessica Collins
U.S. Marine Corps
CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Children giggled in wonder as they swatted and grabbed at unseen objects through virtual reality goggles and holographic visors in the brand new Innovation Lab.
 
The Camp Foster library officially opened their Innovation Lab March 27 to children and adults alike.
 
“The goal of the Innovation Lab is to get everyone into the next big thing,” said Devin Farmer, the supervisory librarian at the Camp Foster Library. “We’re trying to give everyone access to the latest and greatest technology like 3-D printing, modeling and virtual reality.”
 
The Innovation Lab features two Oculus Rifts, a few HoloLenses and an interactive robot.
 
“We have touch controllers with the Oculus Rift,” said Farmer. “We can use them to basically sculpt in thin air. We don’t even need to have the materials. We can virtually sculpt something and take it over to our 3-D printers and print it.”
 
The Innovation Lab is open to everyone, regardless of age or skill level.
 
“These devices are entry level,” said Farmer. “If you have no experience you can jump right in and get your feet wet with whatever you’re interested in. We have programs going next month that will teach people how to use all the devices and things in a classroom type setting.”
 
With these user-friendly devices now available, Marines are encouraged to foster their creativity and discover new ways to solve problems. 
 
“Our Marines must be encouraged to think and do,” said Maj. Gen. Joaquin F. Malavet, the MCIPAC commanding general. “They are the catalyst that will drive our installations into the right direction. With their help and ideas, we will continue to maximize the efficient and effective use of our resources.”
 
The Innovation Lab strives to create an environment where visitors have creative freedom and out-of-the-box tools to meet their goals, whatever they may be.
 
“We don’t want to prescribe something for you do to in the Innovation Lab,” said Farmer. “We want you to be able to think of the next big thing. There are a lot of possibilities, but we can’t figure out all of them on our own. We need your help.”

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