ECE MeetUp: deploying innovation at CDME

Posted: November 8, 2018

The difference between academia and industry? When academia invents a new technology to solve a problem in society, the goal is to move on to the next problem. Industry, however, looks for ways to capitalize on the solution.

Leaders at the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) at The Ohio State University see this gap as an opportunity to help both sides win. Industry and academia both benefit from its focus: continuously developing new technologies into business prototypes ready for manufacturing.

Charlie Young, director of business development at CDME, said the hope is students and faculty learn more about how to get involved at the space, located at 1314 Kinnear Road, Suite 1533 on West Campus.

On Nov. 1, approximately 20 faculty, alumni and students from Ohio State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) gathered for an after-hours tour of CDME during the ongoing ECE Alumni Society MeetUp social/tech event series.

ECE/EE Alumni Society Treasurer Vimal Buck, now senior lead engineer with the Experiential Entrepreneurship Education (E3) Program at CDME, helped organize the evening with ECE alumnus Mark Morscher.

CDME Director Nate Ames said Ohio State wants to create a pathway for further developing technological inventions into functional prototypes for manufacturing. 

“It’s one thing to invent the next best thing that is going to save the world, it’s another to get it onto the shop floor,” Ames said. “Our goal is to help deploy it.”

In 2015, the Ohio State College of Engineering teamed up with industry leaders at Honda and General Electric, among others, to recognize this problem and create the CDME space at the university to solve it. 

As CDME prepares to launch an expansion of space and resources in 2019, Ames said, the plan is to get more students and industry leaders involved. 

“I think CDME is going to set the model for maker spaces, in terms of helping students launch entrepreneurial ideas. I’m anxious to see that,” ECE Professor Steve Bibyk said, who attended. 

Maker spaces are hot, Ames said, but many devolve into real estate hubs for people to share offices and create a communal environment, rather than deploy technology. At CDME, he said, the tools for creating and testing ideas are there. Making the center more collaborative is ideal, so students can come and work on projects with industry partners they hope to someday be employed by.

CDME offers product development, advanced materials processing, additive manufacturing, equipment usage in a lab setting, as well as the opportunity for training via the E3 program.

“It’s a maker space with grown up toys,” Ames said. 

The MeetUp event drew in ECE students Elena Shapiro and Chris Murray, both with the Robotics Club at Ohio State. Other students who attended were officers representing the Design Develop Deploy (D3), Amateur Radio Club and Hack OHI/O organizations. They were interested in networking with alumni and learning more about CDME resources for their own future projects.

Two D3 students said they took part in the recent Honda INNOVATE-O-thon held by the Institute for Materials Research in the spring, which utilized the CDME space. They would like to do something similar for their organization.

To learn more about ECE MeetUp events, visit: