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Create Gadgets at The Thingery Lab

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RUSTON, La -

Have a great idea but wonder how to make it reality?

There is a new place where people are developing innovative products.

A lot of new things are coming from The Thingery.

It is a new lab at Louisiana Tech in Ruston where students and residents can turn concepts into creations.

"It used to be, and it still happens, that people tinker around in their garages with whatever tools and equipment and materials they have to make whatever it is they imagine in their minds," said Dr. Norris, Executive Director of Enterprise and Economic Development. "What we're doing here at The Thingery is creating a cutting edge 21st century resource with the newest and best tools that the most creative and entrepreneurial people can use to make whatever they dream about."

Senior students Josh and Trey dreamed up an idea to help solve a problem in the oil field.

"They have a lot of equipment in the oil field and they need to track it so they're using some RFID tags which provide an electronic way of tracking that system," said Trey Willson, Senior Mechanical Engineer. "We're losing a lot of them in the field, so we're designing a case to protect the tag so it doesn't get damaged."

First, they looked at how the tags were being damaged so they could come up with a solution.

"We realized that the main way they were getting hit was on the side and sheer and we decided we were going to put a case around it that was a sloped edge that would promote more of a glancing blow rather than a direct blow," said Willson.

They took their idea to a special computer program, created their design, and then printed it out on a 3-D printer.

This isn't the final product, just something they use to iron out the kinks.

"We're still in the process of testing materials we're going to use for our final product," said Josh Alleman, Senior Mechanical Engineer.

Once they select their material, they will use another machine to make the real deal.

This is just one thing people can make here.

"People are making everything from jewelry and Christmas ornaments to quadcopters and biomedical devices," said Dr. Norris.

One piece of art they made is a hanging children's mobile.

"That's just taking bits and pieces of type and creating the animals you see," said Todd Maggio, Associate Professor. "The first one I created was a cat chasing some squirrels."

Of course, this is also the perfect place to develop robots.

"It's a replication of the Amazon Prime shipping idea," said Sean Foster, Senior Electrical Engineering Technologist. "So, we've built a large sized squad rover to build and deliver packages to remote locations by GPS coordinates."

"Our design features a lot more tomography, which is positioning data, and a lot more sensors which make it safer for other people and to recover the drone," said Foster.

There is also a robot one student thinks would be great for the military.

Senior Mechanical Engineer Augustine Aelebanthara calls his unmanned ground device Big Foot.

"I have a track drive system built into it so it would be able to negotiate off terrain surface," he said.

This is only the beginning of The Thingery.

Louisiana Tech hopes to take it one step further very soon.

"One of the next steps for The Thingery is to develop an online marketplace, a website where students, faculty or alumni could sell products that they design," said Maggio.

"If you know how to use all of the stuff in here, there's almost nothing you can't make," said Dr. Norris.

Louisiana Tech wants this to be a space where local businesses can come and create solutions to their problems.

To find out how you can apply to create your idea, visit the Louisiana Tech website or visit The Thingery's facebook page.

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