Students at the Help Desk of the Van Leer Interdisciplinary Design Commons (IDC)

Pollinating Start-ups

April 11, 2019

Step into “The Hive:” engineering’s newest maker space

What used to be an auditorium in the Van Leer building, the Interdisciplinary Design Commons (IDC) is now the largest electronics-oriented student makerspace in the country. Opened in September 2018, it offers students a hands-on learning environment where they can work together to solve technology design challenges.

Any student who comes to the center with an idea will be able to leave with a prototype they built. The facility provides access to equipment that is industry standard, giving students access to hands-on design projects that are woven throughout the curriculum. Students are affectionately calling the space “The Hive,” which is also the name of the student volunteer group which helps train students to use the facility.



A group of students collaborates on a project in the IDC

The makerspace serves more than 200 students a day.

The goal is to instill entrepreneurial confidence in our students by offering a comfortable, low-pressure learning environment in which any student has room to grow and explore. The facility helps give every student the ability to create anything they want to create.

The IDC is another key in the College’s “maker culture,” helping facilitate growth and inventive ideas, and providing the tools that our students need to achieve their dreams of creating the next big thing.

A student works on a project at a 3D printer

The IDC has four 3D printers.

A student works on a project at a laser cutting machine.

The facility houses two laser cutters and one plasma cutter.

Student works on a piece of machinery

A full machine shop is available, and 20 soldering stations.

ECE Chair Magnus Egerstedt in the Design Commons

Steve W. Chaddick School Chair of ECE, Magnus Egerstedt, on the second floor of the Van Leer Interdisciplinary Design Commons.

“The IDC is a space where our students can dream big and realize those dreams in hardware and software. Given the level of ingenuity and creativity I see unleashed in the IDC on a daily basis, I wouldn’t be surprised if the next multinational tech giant is conceived within the walls of this beautiful new space.”

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