Yale Celebrates a Nation of Makers

If you were to visit the Center for Engineering Innovation & Design (CEID) recently, you might find a researcher using the 3D printer to reproduce fossilized monkey bones. Or you might meet a team of students working on an app for kidney transplant patients.

This kind of dedication to innovation has caught the attention of the White House, which features Yale Engineering in today's announcement of National Week of Making. A White House initiative, National Week of Making showcases the ingenuity and inventiveness of individuals who work together and create solutions to challenging problems. Pres. Barack Obama has called the week a celebration of "the tinkerers and dreamers whose talent and drive have brought new ideas to life."

"Making at Yale!" is the collective name for Yale's events for the week. The CEID will mark the week Tuesday with an open house for New Haven residents to explore the concept of making and review its impact as a problem-solving tool and innovation catalyst. Two one-hour sessions from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 11 am to 12 noon will be held in partnership with the New Haven Arts & Ideas Festival.

Also Tuesday, CEID Assistant Director Joe Zinter and Thomas Kwan, a fellow in Yale Engineering's Advanced Graduate Leadership Program, will take part in the Higher Education Maker Symposium hosted by the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy. Among other topics, the symposium will consider best practices for deploying maker-based education or makerspaces on U.S. campuses. Zinter and Kwan will be on hand to discuss Yale's work in this area.

Of course, the CEID's commitment to making goes well beyond this week. In July, 20 high school students will take part in a weeklong workshop on the acoustics of music and making musical instruments. Held as a component of Yale's Pathways to Science (and Engineering) Scholars program, the students will learn about physical concepts and then practice making skills in the studio.

And for the entire summer, the CEID is hosting its fourth cohort of summer fellows, in which 12 college students are in residence at the CEID and working in teams to design and fabricate products. These projects range from a device for surgeons to insert catheters into veins (Central Line Placement) to integrated security systems for building access. Previous projects have led to the founding of numerous companies, including one that developed a low-cost infant respirator that has been field tested in Ethiopia.

Recently bolstered by a $20 million donation from James S. Tyler Jr. '65 D.Eng, the CEID serves as Yale's hub for making. It has nearly 9,000 square feet of collaborative design, fabrication and assembly space, including the John Klingenstein Design Lab. The center is open 24 hours, seven days a week to the entire Yale community.