Microsoft has provided a now-famous Texas student with a maker’s dream set of equipment, including a 3D printer.
You may have seen this in the mainstream news, but 14-year old student Ahmed Mohamed of Irving, Texas was briefly arrested last week for allegedly bringing a bomb into his school. In fact, the student had merely reassembled a clock mechanism and there was no bomb. However, a combination of school officials and procedures ended up with the unfortunate student being handcuffed by local authorities. Eventually the matter was sorted out and Mohamed was released.
The story hit the mainstream news, as most believe the Mohamed should not have been arrested, but in fact should be praised as a creative student that should be encouraged. Several tech companies provided invitations to Mohamed to visit, and even US President Obama invited him to visit the White House.
One company decided to do something more specific. Microsoft sent Mohamed a care package containing a variety of items suitable for any aspiring maker, including a Surface Pro, Raspberry Pi, subscription to Office 365, Microsoft Band, and more goodies.
And a 3D printer.
The 3D printer provided was a 3D Systems Cube, their entry-level model, along with at least one extra spool of plastic filament. The 3D printer was likely the most expensive item in the pile.
Here’s why we think this is interesting: Microsoft evidently felt that a 3D printer was sufficiently important so they included it in their shopping for Mohamed. And they’re right: using the materials provided, Mohamed, with some free software, should be able to design real devices - and actually make them, too! Using the Surface Pro for software and web, physical designs and software can be created. The Raspberry Pi can accept the software and be enclosed in a custom-designed 3D printed case or drive a machine made from 3D printed parts.
We wish Mohamed all the best in his journey forward, but ask another question: Why can’t EVERY student have access to a 3D printer so they can freely design the machines of their dreams?