MAE-497-Invention and Innovation Curriculum

Illinois Institute of Technology

IIT launched its Invention and Innovation Project in the fall of 1995. The class curriculum goes beyond the traditional lecture style by focusing on an academic experience based on personal coaching. The idea is to give the students an opportunity to look at engineering projects as an art – the art of invention. To emphasize this point, the class is structured as a studio class, such as those common in architecture and fine arts programs, but with a technical content. There are fifteen students in each studio, which behave as a small, high-tech firm engaged in developing new products.

In one semester, the products must move from concept to design, prototype, patent, and business plan. NCIIA funding provides money to the student teams for project development and commercialization, as well as additional equipment for class use. Thus far the class has produced a team that won Advanced E-Team funding, the Automotive Ozone Pollution Fighter. Also, two products are nearing commercialization: a portable ladder for hunters, and a car seat for infants that massages them as the car moves. The class is taught every semester at IIT. A continuation of support for Dr. Ruiz's class was approved in the October 1996 round.