Investing in Innovation: Robotics & Engineering Camp at UC Berkeley

By Phill Powell

It’s a hefty investment, and one that will help ensure that the University of California, Berkeley remains a top scientific think tank for decades to come. Electronics manufacturer Texas Instruments (TI) awarded the school a $2.2 million gift to completely renovate its electronics design laboratory.

The Texas Instruments Electronics Design Lab was officially opened in Cory Hall, home of the Electrical Engineering Division of UC Berkeley’s Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences.

An engineering student in UC Berkeley’s Texas Instruments Electronics Design Lab. (Credit: Texas Instruments)

The new lab is a real showplace—equipped with 26 workstations outfitted with prototyping platforms from National Instruments, bench-top measurement equipment donated by Agilent Technologies, and a variety of TI analog and embedded processing products.

There is also a lounge near the lab that’s dedicated to making things. The “maker” lounge was also renovated by TI and features a development station and two complete workstations.

Technology on Tap
Lots of electrical engineering students will make use of UC Berkeley’s revamped lab, as well as more than 1,000 students each year who will take the “Introduction to Microelectronic Circuits” class and other electrical engineering courses. Brian Crutcher, a senior vice president at TI, remarked on the manufacturer’s goal in supporting the massive renovation. “Aspiring engineers are tasked with staying ahead of the innovation curve,” he said, “And what could be better than to provide them with cutting-edge workspaces that enable real-life learning early on?”

The new electronics lab is just another reason why UC Berkeley enjoys a reputation as a leading force in scientific research. Here are some other reasons:

Element-ary School UC’s Berkeley Lab has discovered 16 chemical elements, which is more than any other university in the world. In fact, six elements listed on the periodic table were discovered by Berkeley researchers.

Historic Faculty Berkeley physicist Robert Oppenheimer served as the scientific director of the famous Manhattan Project, which led to the development of the first atomic weapon during World War II. Notable grads include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google.

Big Spender Scientific research costs major money, and UC Berkeley isn’t afraid to shell out. In 2009 alone, the school dedicated $654 million on research and development.

UC Berkeley’s campus is nestled in the scenic San Francisco Bay area.

“We know that the new facility will provide students with the right mix of tools, experience and excitement that fuels innovation while they learn, and we are deeply grateful for this spectacular gift.”

-S. Shankar Sastry, Dean of Engineering
University of California, Berkeley

Spend Summer at a Tech Tank
UC Berkeley’s reputation as a supreme “tech tank” is what led Digital Media Academy to start conducting tech camps there. This summer, kids and teens will head to Berkeley’s attractive campus (located on the eastern side of the San Francisco Bay) to study a wide range of today’s hottest digital arts. Subjects include everything from digital filmmaking and animation to programming and robotics.

DMA tech camps present concentrated learning that never forgets to have fun. Teens in DMA’s Academy for Robotics & Engineering, for example, will master programming languages like C, C++ and Java, as well as design and build their own awesome robots using the Arduino programming language. It’s an amazing two-week course that gives campers plenty of hands-on experience working with the supercool LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT robotics kit. Get the most from this summer vacation by attending one of DMA’s tech camp locations.