In what UCI Provost Enrique Lavernia called a model campus partnership, Calit2 and Microsemi Corp. joined forces to create the Microsemi Innovation Lab, featuring the latest in semiconductor hardware and software capabilities.
A generous donation from Microsemi to UCI set the process in motion. The two entities collaborated on the project for more than two years to ensure the highest quality resources would be available to engineering students, as well as researchers involved in multidisciplinary projects.
Located on the second floor of the Calit2 Building, the 1,090-square-foot lab is the newest addition to the institute’s innovation pipeline for academic and industry partners. Offering state-of-the-art technology with strategic guidance from Microsemi’s chief technology officer, Jim Aralis, the lab will provide the tools and expertise for the conceptual design, prototyping, integration and validation of student and faculty innovations, as well as boost UCI’s ability to advance research and explore commercial possibilities.
Calit2 Irvine division Director G.P. Li welcomed more than 160 faculty, students, and community and industry representatives to a grand opening celebration, Nov. 3, 2015, that included a short symposium, ribbon-cutting and guided tours.
The symposium addressed the Internet of Things revolution, and the current IoT activities and contributions of both institutions. Presenters, including Aralis and four Calit2 researchers, discussed the many possibilities and exciting applications of IoT.
“The Internet of Things is expected to be up to a $17 trillion dollar opportunity by 2020,” Calit2’s IoT Evangelist Mark Bachman told the crowd. “More than 50 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. Almost every device will contain at least one sensor.”
“UCI has the ideas to solve problems, and our technology will help you turn your IoT ideas into high-performance products,” said Aralis.
After the symposium, Li and Lavernia looked on as Microsemi CEO Jim Peterson used a robotic arm (made with Microsemi technology) to cut the ribbon suspended across the building’s atrium staircase. (Lavernia grabbed the old-fashioned oversized cardboard scissors as backup.)
Peterson praised Calit2’s Li for his vision. “This partnership is a testament to the tenacity of G.P.,” said Peterson. “UCI wants to honor and thank Microsemi, but the fact is, Microsemi wants to thank UCI and what you’ve done for us. What we’ve been working on together and talking about with this lab, is how we can innovate and move forward together.”
“Getting to the next generation of engineers is really important,” said Paul Pickle, Microsemi president and COO. “Our job as company managers is to make sure our organization is ready to receive the next generation of talent who is going to look at the problem statement a little differently, and break the mold. I’m pretty happy and proud today that we’re teamed up with a university like UCI. “
Lavernia praised Microsemi’s generosity. “What a great partnership, not only because Microsemi is a leader in IoT, but because their relationship on campus crosses a lot of disciplines,” he said. “Bringing together faculty and students with the technical expertise of a local company -- this is a model for other centers at UCI. I am fascinated by the potential of the IoT space, and I am profoundly grateful for the leadership of Microsemi.”
- Lori Brandt