SUMMIT, NJ — For those looking to delve into the world of robotics, coding, gaming and more, the Innovation Foundry in Summit is the newest place to explore all sorts of STEM-related activities.
The Innovation Foundry, a “technology and business hub for teenagers,” made its debut in Summit on Saturday, with Mayor Nora Radest leading the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The founders of the business are 9th grader Cara and 7th grader Donovan Austring. The brother-and-sister entrepreneurs also received support from their parents who are both engineers.
“My sister and I wanted to launch the Innovation Foundry to create a new space where we could meet up with people like us who have a passion for STEM outside of school,” Donovan told Patch. “We wanted somewhere we could come to explore different technology, collaborate on projects, and generally have fun.”
Donovan said the aim is to build a community where members are “encouraged to explore their STEM interests with open access to various technologies, optional weekly design challenges and a line-up of industry speakers with backgrounds in business and/or technology.”
According to the website, the Austring siblings enjoyed activities like coding and gaming but struggled to find ways to explore these hobbies with their friends.
“Cara often invited friends with her to robotics club and Donovan had friends over to play video games, but it was a challenge either for time or for equipment,” the website states. “Not wanting to have to choose between being social or pursuing their tech hobbies, the idea for the Innovation Foundry was born.”
For those interested in programming or working in game development, the Innovation Foundry offers custom personalized computers that are integrated into MWE Emperor stations, which are essentially advanced workstations that provide ideal ergonomics, visibility and concentration for developers.
The Innovation Foundry also offers podcast booths for those interested in content creation. The booths reduce background noise by 27 decibels as one crafts and records their content, according to the website.
3D printing and VR technologies are offered at the Foundry, as well.
To participate in the new business, people can either sign up for a free fellowship that is offered on a quarterly basis based on a review of applications and pitches developed by the innovators, or people can sign up for a full membership, which includes unlimited access to all equipment with materials and free refreshments.