The French Embassy in Nigeria on Friday donated a fabrication laboratory to the University of Lagos to drive innovation among students and staff.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the computer research laboratory has printing machines to produce objects.
The digital fabrication laboratory, which is linked to other laboratories across the world, will help Unilag staff and students to transform ideas into objects.
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Jerome Pasquier, who made the donation on behalf the French Government, described the donation as an excellent corporate project.
”This is a very interesting corporate project with Unilag. The is like a gift from the French Government.
”It is a computer research lab with printing machines that produce various types of objects.
“You concieve something on a computer and have it produced, or concieve a project in one country and have it printed in another country.
”This is very interesting and it is something that will normally be used to monitor the issue of climate change which is a concern for France and also for Nigeria,” he said.
The ambassador said that the embassy would work with five universities in Nigeria in the project.
Unilag’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, described the donation as a game changer.
“What the French Embassy has done is to give us the tools with which we can transform our ideas into things that we can touch so that when we dream something, we can produce it.
”This is where we will develop prototype of things that our people have invented.
”More importantly and exciting is that this laboratory is linked to other laboratories around the world so that when you are faced with difficulties, you can actually talk to others and they will work with you.
“It was initially started by the MIT in the U.S.; it is part of the large conglomerate of laboratories in universities, and we linked right now,” she said.
According to the acting vice-chancellor, French universities are linked to Unilag through the laboratory.
”There are five of these laboratories in Nigeria. You can actually scan anything and then produce it on the machines,” Ogunsola said.
On how the laboratory would impact academic activities, Ogunsola said it would be of more benefit to engineering students.
”We could have been doing more of theories, but with this, those theories will be put to practice.
”It is great for the university because when you invent something, there is nothing like seeing it; so, when we work with the industry, our students can actually start to craft things that they dream.
”Students can now bring to fruition, their ideas and we can now start talking to industries, we can show them something.
“If I tell you I have designed a cat and you cannot see any cat, I can now show you a prototype; so, it is largely going to drive innovation and entrepreneurship that we are talking about.”
Ogunsola added that the project would improve skills and knowledge.
The Project Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Unilag’s Department of Botany, Dr Temitope Onuminya, said that the applied laboratory could be used by all departments in the university.
”Essentially the laboratory is for fabrication. If you have a concept or an idea that you want to build but have not fully understood what you want to do, with the assistance of machines in the laboratory, we can fabricate and print out that idea for you.
”The printout will now help you see where the lapses are so that you can modify. It is a beautiful project and a good addition to us in Unilag.
“We hope that this will make our research more useful.
”It will also help to minimise wastage,” she said.