New hackerspace opens in Cory Hall

Jan Flatley-Feldman/Staff
ASUC President Connor Landgraf (right) and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of a campus ‘hackerspace.’

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UC Berkeley hackers now have a space to call their own.

Texas Instruments partnered with UC Berkeley to open the Texas Instruments Electronics Design Lab on the first and second floors of Cory Hall.  The “hackerspace” is open to all students but is dedicated to electrical engineering and computer sciences majors.

“We were discussing this project for about a year and a half with Texas Instruments, and the TI Electronics Design Lab will allow students to go beyond what they learn in class and design and create their own projects,” said former chair of the campus EECS department Costas Spanos, who spearheaded the project.

Current EECS chair David Culler noted that the lab was designed by students. He added that the main goal of this lab is to accommodate all students and aid them in expanding their ideas and projects.

“This lab provides students with more space,” Culler said. “Due to the rapid pace of innovation, we needed more room for the students and their projects.”

While the lab’s construction was funded by Texas Instruments, its equipment and tools were provided by Agilent, an electronics and communications company.

“The cooperation with Texas Instruments and Agilent on this project is brilliant because we are a public institution that creates vibrant industry, and industry gives back to us,” Culler said. “It’s a virtuous cycle.”

ASUC President Connor Landgraf, a bioengineering major, reiterated these sentiments and said he hopes that the lab will help students gain work experience.

“This lab is really exciting because it’s a needed space for students,” Landgraf said. “They can come here and collaborate with others and do things they can’t do in other labs and have an out-of-class experience.”

Brian Crutcher, the senior vice president of Texas Instruments, spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and emphasized that the lab would benefit present and future engineers.

“Through this building, we wish to invest in the future and make an impact on the world,” Crutcher said. “It’s about a place where engineers of the future can come together and collaborate and innovate with one another. It’s a place where things they do in class can be put into practice so they can be prepared for work when the graduate. It is a place where their imaginations can grow.”

Aditya Yellapragada, a member of Pioneers in Engineering, said that this lab is a necessary addition to the campus because it is open to all students and not just graduate students.

“One of the reasons that this lab is useful is that we, as a group, try to convince high school students to come to college by hosting robotics competitions,” Yellapragada said. “This lab allows us to use tools and pieces of equipment to improve our robots, and with these tools, we can create things that we normally can’t create in other labs.”

Contact Seif Abdelghaffar at [email protected].