The Air Force Research Laboratory has entered a new partnership with the Wright Brothers Institute in Dayton, Ohio, that will give employees at Wright-Patterson AFB access to an innovative, collaborative design space called The Maker Hub. The Maker Hub is a yearlong pilot project developed in the model of the Maker Movement, which creates collaborative workspaces for innovators to use digital tools to solve real-world problems. The Hub will house “3-D printers, Computer Numerical Control mills, a laser cutter, sewing machine, printed circuit board prototyping tool, and a full electronics workstation.” Emily Fehrman Cory, the AFRL researcher leading the effort, said “[The Maker Hub] will be a relaxed environment where people can pursue those good ideas that maybe have been on the back burner for too long.” She added that Wright-Patterson is initiating Wingman Challenges aimed at rewarding creative solutions to problems AFRL is confronting. “Here in AFRL, we are already involved in researching new ways to design and create functional products for air platforms and for the warfighter in general,” Fehrman Cory said.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.