Newly Renovated Carnegie Mellon Innovations Laboratory Unveiled to Campus-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Newly Renovated Carnegie Mellon Innovations Laboratory Unveiled to Campus

Dr. Ted Selker shows students how to use the campus' new laser cutter.
Dr. Ted Selker shows students how to use the campus' new laser cutter.

Carnegie Mellon University’s Silicon Valley campus recently unveiled the newly renovated Carnegie Mellon Innovations Laboratory (CMIL). The campus’ main lab space held an Open House to introduce the myriad of “making” possibilities open to students, faculty, staff and researchers, including opportunities to hack gadgets and fabricate prototypes.

“The updated CMIL is meant to foster creativity and innovation in our students and faculty by providing a rich lab "maker" environment,” said Dr. Jason Lohn, Director of CMIL. “We hope that this will allow students to go from ideas and inspiration to a constructed object easily and rapidly.”

Distinguished Service Professor Dr. Ted Selker added that he hopes the new opportunities the CMIL lab provide will “create an environment that motivates and empowers people to develop their technical abilities and to try out their ideas without boundaries.”

Among the new equipment available are a laser cutter and 3-D printer, which were both demoed at the Open House with training courses to be offered. In addition to the new machines, the lab includes an RF/Wireless lab, electronics bench, maker shop and vertical milling machine drilling machine.

Students wasted no time getting their hands on the machines at the Open House, from receiving an introduction to the laser cutter by creating CMU-SV trinkets, to attaching surface mount components to a circuit board using reflow soldering in the RF Lab.

“The new equipment allows students to interface their programs to the physical world, create professional level electronics and embedded systems, and to have the full product development experience,” said Dr. Selker.

The lab also strives to supplement the academic programs by creating opportunities for the hands-on learning style emphasized at CMU-SV. For example, students in the new connected embedded systems courses can use the laser cutter and 3-D printer to make enclosures for embedded systems and the solder paste machine to rework systems. In addition, the radio lab tools allow students to view and work with the new worlds of RF identification and high frequency cell communications.

By providing a space for the CMU-SV community to “make” things, the renovated CMIL is situated to become an indispensable resource in the research and educational programs at the Silicon Valley campus. “CMIL gives our students an edge by experiencing that creating in the electronics and physical world is possible, accessible and relevant,” said Dr. Selker.