The project involves design students from the university’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics teaching digital design and manufacturing in a primary school in Kent.
The eight-week programme, aimed at nine to 11-year-olds at St John's Primary School, Tunbridge Wells, began in early March with the children learning how to design 3D castles with open source digital design software.
Week three involved a trip to the university where the children were able to print out their castles using the extensive digital manufacturing facilities available.
They saw the university’s design studio as well as the wood and metal workshops and spoke to some of the designers. They also learnt about the variety of colours, shapes and materials that can be 3D printed and about the different sorts of prototyping machines available at the university.
In week four they were taught how to use customer feedback to develop better products. The children ultimately will create their own designs and many already have come up with a range of ideas including a bee, robot, a cupcake stand and cakes, and a London bus.
Tim Katz, Principal Lecturer from the University of Brighton, said: “3D design software is freely available and digital manufacturing equipment can be bought for under £1,000. Many young children are digital natives, growing up with technology from an early age.
“However, primary schools lack the expertise and the budget to engage children in a comprehensive digital design and manufacturing experience on their own.
"This project, working with Innovation Partners, a company that focuses on exploiting the full potential of universities, is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK and aims to bridge this gap."
John Cummins, Director of Innovation Partners Ltd, said: “The final exhibition of all the digitally produced objects will take place on 19 May at St John's Primary School, Tunbridge Wells."