By Will Slack
SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering is unique. One of the many ways the Lyle School distinguishes itself is the Innovation Gymnasium. Located in Caruth Hall, the Innovation Gym is a place for students to work as consultants for companies throughout the Dallas metroplex. Corporations bring their challenges and problems to Lyle’s engineering students. Working in teams, students brainstorm to create new technologies, intellectual property, and solutions to real world problems. The Innovation Gym also provides students with networking opportunities that can lead to internships. During the last ten days of winter break I participated in an Immersion Design Experience (or IDE) sponsored by Frito Lay. Our team was tasked with the challenge of automating a process that is currently completed manually. Throughout this project we had to consider space, cost, equipment needed, and specifications/dimensionality for new innovations. The ideas my team came created could potentially save Frito Lay millions of dollars. The Innovation Gym is a fun place as well; our work days were filled with snacks, jokes, entertaining YouTube videos, late night ice cream trips, and lots of coffee. IDEs not only give engineering students real world experience; it allows them to see how different engineering disciplines come together to solve problems.