theCO is becoming infamous to regulars for integrating the newest technological developments into all of the meetings and workshops available, whether that’s in the form of 3D printers, virtual reality simulators, or furniture designed and cut by the CNC router. Now, the bar is being raised by taking these gadgets and more on the road in the form of a Mobile Innovation Lab, or more casually referred to as the CO:mobile. Built out of a transformed school bus, the CO:mobile is made up of all the component parts that are here at 541 Wiley Parker Drive to go along with everything needed for pop-up tutorials and demonstrations. The idea surfaced when CO:founders Ben Ferguson, Ben Harris, and William Donnell agreed that a more direct strategy was needed in order to fulfill theCO’s mission of serving the greater West Tennessee area with the same programs and opportunities it was offering Jackson.
Similarly to how the American Red Cross’s Blood Drive reaches communities on a circuit, the CO:mobile is designed to travel through rural markets’ schools and festivals to encourage a different kind of enrichment. theCO aims to regularly schedule visits to events that are already integral to a town’s happenings, such as the annual Strawberry Festival in Humboldt. Providing an educational outlet to current students and recreational learners on new opportunities available is also primary on the CO:mobile’s agenda, said Ferguson. “We want to give children access to these kinds of technologies and stir up more interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education and encourage them to get explore in fields that might have previously been thought of as out-of-reach.” There are also plans to travel to entrepreneurial/tech conferences such as 3686 in Nashville and South by Southwest in Austin, TX to showcase the strides Tennessee is making in innovation.
Although the CO:mobile will likely be on the road most days, it is intended to be parked at theCO whenever idle, and will be open for anyone to tour or inquire about reserving for an event. So if you don’t get the chance to see us the next time we’re at a local fair or school, come by our office and see our latest exhibition for yourself!
Written by Joseph Smith.