Maryland today | UMD ALLOCATES IDEA FACTORY
The movable walls and common spaces of the IDEA Factory will foster dialogue between students, entrepreneurs, and faculty working in areas such as multimedia, robotics, helicopters, and quantum engineering. Particularly striking is the facade dominated by a huge window made of laminated glass treated with a film that creates radiant color changes, depending on where the viewers are standing.
“Engineering brings together great minds — people from different backgrounds and viewpoints, and looking at the same challenge in different ways — to collaborate on solutions that serve humanity. IDEA will catalyze these collaborations,” said Samuel Graham Jr., Dean of the Clark School. It’s about Maryland engineering. We incredibly appreciate our supporters for giving our students, faculty, and staff a new place to do cutting edge work.”
The building is named for Emilio Fernandez ’69, a Maryland engineering graduate, entrepreneur, and inventor who holds dozens of patents, including one that identified e-readers and is the most cited US patent ever. Several of these patents were invented with his friend, business partner, and colleague Terp Angel Bezos ’69. Their inventions and their company, Pulse Electronics, changed railroad operations. The primary investment for the building came from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation Building Together: An Investment for Maryland in 2017.
Fernandez said he hopes IDEA will accelerate the comprehensive collaboration our community needs in order to solve its greatest challenges. “Today’s problems are complex and require multidisciplinary solutions,” he said. “We have to combine our disciplines so that our knowledge develops into products and services that help humanity.”
The new IDEA Factory is the latest infrastructure addition to UMD’s vibrant innovation ecosystem. They include the UMD Discovery District, as well as the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering (2019), a hub for technology, collaboration, and discovery; James Clark-Hall (2017), designed to advance the development of transformational engineering and biomedical technologies to advance human health; and the Physical Sciences Pool (2013), which was created to provide ideal conditions for scientific collaboration, research and innovation with partners across campus and at local federal agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NASA Goddard, and the National Institutes of Health.