Hoping to spur creative and entrepreneurial innovation, Florida State University is adding 3D printing technology to its new innovation lab being developed by the College of Communication and Information.

3D Systems donated Cube 3 and CubePro 3D printers, a Sense 3D scanner and software programs that include an accompanying 3D mouse for digital sculpting to FSU to give students open access to the emerging technology.

"We are committed to empowering this generation of students with tomorrow's skills today, and we believe that at the core of tomorrow's necessary workforce skills is 3D design and printing," 3D Systems Director of Social Impact Leanne Gluck said. "3D design and printing not only democratizes local production for established companies and professionals, but it also enables students to be inventors, designers, artists, and to have the tools to start their own business if they want to."

The donation came as the university wrapped up its Stacking Layers conference, which brought some of the nation's top 3D printing experts to FSU to increase public awareness and explore new ways to use the technology in research, business and everyday life.

"This gift will have a tremendous impact on FSU students," FSU College of Communication and Information Dean Larry Dennis said. "Providing students with ongoing access to state-of-the-art 3D printing technology is a great way to engage students and inspire them to think innovatively about the impact of this technology. 3D Systems' gift has helped create a fantastic opportunity for FSU's students and faculty."

Ken Baldauf, director of FSU's Program in Interdisciplinary Computing, said the gift is a kick-start for the university's investment in this type of technology and training for students.

"The whole point is it will be a place where students can have free and easy access to the technology," he said.

The university's lab is still in development, but training classes are expected to be available in the near future for students who are interested in getting involved with 3D printing technology.