Innovation Lab Is an Exciting Addition to PSB
The Innovation Lab is a recent addition to the Perdue School. It is designed to empower students to use new technologies for entrepreneurship and product development. As recently as a few years ago, new product development was a topic that occurred only in lectures at Perdue and was rarely, if ever, undertaken by students. With the Innovation Lab, every semester brings new prototypes and new possibilities for business opportunities and, hopefully one day, even venture capital.
The Innovation Lab was founded by Dr. Gene Hahn in the Information and Decision Sciences Department. He had noticed that digitally enabled product development would now be possible for undergraduate business students using 3D printing. But 3D printing alone will only permit certain kinds of products.
“At the present 3D printed objects, by themselves, are fairly static,” he observed. Instead 3D printed objects are paired with electronically controlled devices such as sensors, motors and microcontrollers. This allows business undergrads to create a product in the emerging area of wearable technology, which is currently an area that is expected to see continued exponential growth. Students are also taught how to connect their product to the internet using Ethernet or Wi-Fi connections. This leads to student products that are part of the Internet-of-Things revolution.
The Innovation Lab exists to serve its clients, which are students and faculty from any part of the SU campus. For example, in spring 2016,. Hahn mentored a freshman biology major in the pre-physicians assistant track. Within several weeks, she went on to win $1,000 in a Perdue entrepreneurship competition.
To help serve clients, the Innovation Lab currently has three innovation consultants. These innovation consultants are students who are familiar with the technology and the equipment and who can assist others in bringing their dreams to reality. Currently, the Innovation Lab has three 3D printers and one 3D laser scanner among other pieces of equipment. Microcontrollers include several different kinds of Arduinos and Raspberry Pis.
Hahn has created the Innovation Lab to be a campus-wide resource for interdisciplinary innovation. It is one of the many ways in which the Perdue School can collaborate with other schools on campus and serve big-picture goals that benefit the entire university. Fostering an innovation ecosystem is not only good for business, it is good for the sciences, medicine, the arts and social sciences, and many other campus foci.
But Hahn’s thought process goes beyond that: “Innovation is so important to the United States. It’s our competitive edge and we need to invest in our country’s future by preparing our students to innovate for a world that we can’t currently imagine.”
The Innovation Lab gives students a learning-by-doing environment where creative problem-solving, thinking about the future, and staying persistent in the face of setbacks are all part of day’s work. Stop by and see the Innovation Lab in Perdue Hall 300 and meet our innovation consultants Joseph Clayton, Scott Howser and Adebola Daramola as well as Hahn in Perdue Hall 335. All are happy to talk to you about your new ideas!