By Julia McBee
January 28, 2016 –
If you’re dreaming to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Evan Spiegel, then you should probably head to UF’s newest residence hall dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation, Infinity Hall.
The Division of Student Affairs IT (UFSA IT) team, in collaboration with UF Information Technology (UFIT) and the Department of Housing and Residence Education (UF HRE), has brought a second MADE@UF space to Infinity Hall. MADE@UF, which stands for mobile application development environment, provides students the opportunity to create the next big mobile app like Facebook or Snapchat. It was developed as a university initiative to provide students the latest technology equipment to develop mobile applications.
The first MADE@UF is located in Marston Science Library and has been operating out of the library for a few years. “It’s a sandbox open to only students to allow them space and resources for developing mobile applications,” said Sara Gonzalez, the assistant University librarian at Marston.
After receiving a UF Tech Fee Grant, Housing and Residence Education decided to add the second MADE@UF to the first floor of the newly built Infinity Hall. Any student with a Gator1 ID card can use the space and they do not have to be a resident of Infinity Hall. Students only need to visit the Infinity Hall front desk and sign an agreement with the desk staff.
“It is such a tremendous partnership with Student Affairs IT and UFIT,” Gonzalez said.
Alex Grover, part of the Student Affairs IT Assistance team, was the project lead for the new MADE@UF space. “The planning and the purchasing of the equipment took a few months,” Grover said. His goal was to acquire similar equipment and meet the standards set by the Marston location.
The MADE@UF space at Infinity Hall features the following technology:
- Five collaboration spaces and three individual workspaces
- Four small spaces with 55” 4K UHD TVs and a 4-port HDMI switcher for screen sharing
- One large spaces with 80” 4K UHD TV and a 4-port HDMI switcher for screen sharing
- Each collaboration space has a computer with the large space featuring two computers:
- Four Mac Minis loaded with the UF’s Apple XCode Developer Kit license
- Two Windows Developer PCs with Intel Xeon processors and 16GB RAM
- 5 Mobile Device Testing Kits which include:
- iPad Air
- iPad Mini
- iPod Touch
- Google Nexus 9 tablet
- Plus HDMI display cables for sharing
- Virtual Reality Headsets include:
- Two Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 VR Headsets
- One Moverio BT-2000 Smart Headset
“The main differences between the two spaces are the 4K TVs and the Windows PCs installed at Infinity Hall,” Grover said. “The 4K TVs were chosen as a bit of future proofing for the space so they could meet the needs of students for as long as possible. The Windows PCs were added to support the Oculus Rift and allow for additional Windows app development capabilities.”
The furniture layout of the room also had to support the MADE@UF environment. Kim Hall, the Housing and Residence Education interior designer, was in charge of selecting the furniture. Her goal was to have space be aesthetic and streamlined and support innovation and collaboration.
She selected Backbone tables which allowed for cables and back of TVs to be hidden. As well, she included several high-level individual workspaces, so students can either sit or stand while working. Both large walls were painted with whiteboard paint from ceiling to floor allowing ideas to be written freely in dry-erase marker.
“I feel we’ve provided a very intriguing and inviting space where students will come to work leading to many new design prospects,” Hall said. “The possibilities for collaboration and design it gives all UF students are endless.”
Hannah Black, the Residence Entrepreneurial Director at Infinity Hall, said students are using the space for various things such as creating and testing apps with the Mobile Device Testing Kits and trying out the Oculus Rift headsets. She hopes that more interested students come and try out the space.
“I expect that the use of MADE@UF will grow exponentially, especially as students determine how to use the technology and catch up to the level of tech that is being made available to them,” Black said. “The possibilities are truly endless!”
The MADE@UF space on the first floor of Infinity Hall joins other businesses and startups like the UF A2 Fab Lab, MINT Studio, Starter Space, and Gator Hatchery. Their presence is to encourage UF students to collaborate and learn from today’s upcoming entrepreneurs. It is a unique opportunity for the residents and visitors of Infinity Hall.
For more information about the MADE@UF Program, visit their website at http://made.it.ufl.edu.
All UF students are encouraged and welcome to use the MADE@UF Infinity Hall space. The Infinity Hall area desk is open 24/7 and students are able to access the space as long as the area desk is open.