News Column

UC Berkeley Unveils Engineering Lab

April 16, 2013

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) and the University of California, Berkeley opened the doors to an electronics teaching lab.

According to a release, a $2.2 million gift from TI helped transform the existing lab into the Electronics Design Laboratory, designed to encourage ingenuity among undergraduate engineering students.

"The new lab is an engaging learning environment for hands-on engineering, which is exactly what we believe will cultivate the engineers of tomorrow," says Brian Crutcher, senior vice president and general manager of TI's Analog business. "Aspiring engineers are tasked with staying ahead of the innovation curve, and what could be better than to provide them with cutting-edge workspaces that enable real-life learning early on?"

The newly renovated Electronics Design Lab is housed in Cory Hall, home of the Electrical Engineering Division of UC Berkeley's Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS), one of seven departments in the College of Engineering. The lab will provide more than 1,000 students each year with hands-on experience through the application of principles learned in Introduction to Microelectronic Circuits and other gateway electrical engineering courses. The lab includes 26 workstations equipped with prototyping platforms from National Instruments, built with a variety of TI analog and embedded processing products, bench-top measurement equipment donated by Agilent Technologies, as well as ICs from Texas Instruments. This provides a real-world learning environment that gives students an understanding of theoretical engineering concepts and an appreciation of their practical application.

The nearby "maker" lounge, also renovated by TI, is a collaborative playground for budding engineers. Managed by student organizations and equipped with two complete workstations, a development station and related tools, the space is designed to inspire creativity and allow students to work together in solving complex problems.

"With their endless energy and creativity, our students can invent the future," says S. Shankar Sastry, UC Berkeley's dean of engineering. "We know that the new facility will provide them with the right mix of tools, experience and excitement that fuels invention while they learn, and we are deeply grateful for this spectacular gift."

The opening of the lab aligns with TI's expanded Silicon Valley research and development base in Santa Clara and demonstrates TI's commitment to engineering education development, specifically the ongoing efforts of TI's global University Program. In addition, TI, National Instruments and UC Berkeley are in discussions about developing an online version of the Intro to Microelectronic Circuits course to be offered as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in the near future.

UC Berkeley students will also showcase their projects during an interactive demonstration and poster session. A representative from U.S. Rep. John Garamendi's office will also deliver a proclamation recognizing the lab as a centerpiece of academic education for future generations of technology leaders.

With its proximity to Silicon Valley and a global reputation for academic excellence, the University of California, Berkeley has long been a key driver of technological development.

Texas Instruments Inc. is a global semiconductor design and manufacturing company that develops analog ICs and embedded processors.

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