From April 26 to 30, the Sacred Heart University IDEA (Innovate, Design, Engineer, Apply) Lab held virtual and in-person events.
The objective of the IDEA Lab is to challenge Sacred Heart students to learn more about the subjects they are studying. The lab gives opportunities to demonstrate innovation and design techniques while working with a team of peers.
“The IDEA Lab is a creative environment where students develop their ideas from concepts to realities. IDEA Lab week is a wonderful opportunity for students, teachers, family and friends to see some of the projects,” said junior Michael Ohara, one of the student participants.
According to Dr. Martha Crawford, Dean of the Jack Welch College of Business and Technology, in a video posted on the IDEA Lab website, “We have to help them to have the skills which make them career-ready tomorrow, but also the skills of how to continue to learn, how to continue to integrate these new technologies for the future.”
There are many kinds of themes in these events, such as industry and research projects, sensors and computation and 3D printing. The hosts introduce students and the projects they are working on, such as finding the best guitar sound and making robots.
Students who want to work on their hands-on projects are participating in these events. The IDEA Lab is also a place for encouraging students to learn about prototyping, which is a model version of a product.
The IDEA Lab has classes not only about engineering but also fashion and marketing. Many students share their ideas in this learning environment, which inspires them to express creative ideas and other interests.
According to the Sacred Heart official IDEA Lab website, “The IDEA Lab facilitates a transdisciplinary, problem-based, community engaged innovation environment through digital fabrication and advanced manufacturing.”
The IDEA Lab has a variety of equipment, such as 3D printers and laser cutters, for making the best learning environment for students. It is hard to use the equipment in their usual classes, so the IDEA Lab staff also serve to teach students how to use it.
The lab is designed to provide many benefits for Sacred Heart students because it encourages their knowledge and skills through these special opportunities and lectures.
“Students are exposed to project-based learning in the lab and encouraged to innovate. With the experienced lab staff, students are able to work on their own projects as well as getting help on their hands-on class project,” said Tolga Kaya, Director of Engineering and host of the events.
Ohara is working to make the Compass Game, which is a device designed to help kindergarten students learn how to read compass directions. He dedicated a lot of time to making this project in the IDEA Lab.
“I really appreciate the developing and demonstrating that we do in the IDEA Lab,” said Ohara. “It prepares us for the next step, keeping a job and excelling.”
Currently, there are more than 100 students who use the IDEA Lab, and Kaya has plans to increase interest even more.
“We want to reach out to more students and faculty via workshops, events and classes,” said Kaya.
The IDEA Lab staff and students have put in much effort to improve the IDEA Lab, and they always have conversations for making the learning environment more attractive to Sacred Heart students.
“We have more training programs, access to more printers and more student experts,” said Ohara. “Within this environment, it is becoming easier and easier to learn and make things. There will always be learning curves. The payoff is worth it. We are becoming Artisans of Technology.”