A lab with the latest high-tech prototyping equipment that is open to all students and faculty was publicly launched Thursday at San Diego State University.
The H.G. Fenton Company Idea Lab provides equipment for rapid prototyping of new ideas, with two mechanical engineering graduates on hand to help. The equipment includes a 3-D printer, a laser cutter, a computer-controlled CNC mill, a CNC router and other shop equipment
“Most incubators don’t provide facilities where teams can actually develop their physical products. The H.G. Fenton facility does that,” said Irwin Pfister, chairman of the advisory board to the Zahn Innovation Center, of which the new idea lab is a part.
During the ceremony, a dozen student teams were showing off their ideas, including:
- Soft Chomp – an infant toothbrush that is soft for a baby’s gums, but protects parents from accidental bites. Founder Whitney Mullen used the 3-D printer to create prototypes. She is a SDSU graduate and university staff member who is now starting a company, Nurturley Inc., to market the toothbrush.
- ShredLights – a headlight for skateboards, designed because “cracks can kill” as skateboarders negotiate dark sidewalks. Founder Drew Page is a senior in the business school.
- Hype Audio – completely waterproof mp3 headphones for surfers. Andrew Halsch and three other SDSU undergraduates are developing prototypes at the center. “Over the weekend, we’re going to see how it holds up,” Halsch said.
Currently 43 teams have been been approved to work on projects at the Zahn Center, and Pfister said, “we’re on a pace this year to have as many as 350 new applications for the center.”
There are other incubators in San Diego, but the Zahn Center caters to students, is free to approved teams, works with students who have an idea but lack technical skills, and encourages ideas for nonprofits that can help society.
The new prototyping lab was underwritten by the H.G. Fenton Company, a San Diego-based residential and commercial real estate company.
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