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Think research is boring? Here are 6 cool labs proving you wrong!

What if research meant designing toys & video games, or looking for life in outer space? Here are 6 famous labs that are many leagues beyond the ordinary.
BY Cherryy Chauhan |   26-09-2018

Do the words research and laboratory, combined, conjure images of cold walls, white coats, and an endless maze of arcane chemical equations? Well labs are often way more fun than that. Don’t believe us? Here’s a list of 6 labs researching funky tech (creative machines, brewing and the building blocks of the universe). Check them out here:

University of California, Davis: August A. Bausch III Brewing & Food Science Laboratory

At UC Davis, the Food Science and Technology undergraduates learn to brew beer as a part of their Practical Malting and Brewing course at the university. The unusual course concludes with an Iron Brew competition that is judged by professional brewmasters. Many students go on to work in the brewing business, either at breweries or at multinationals such as Anheuser-Busch InBev.  There are also plans for a 12,500 square feet vinery run by the department of Viticulture and Enology.

Columbia University: Creative Machines Lab

Columbia University: Creative Machines Lab
Photo courtesy: Creative Machines Lab Website

This Ivy League university lab’s mission statement says it does engineering which is inspired by biology. They are building robots which can create and be creative. Major research activities at the lab are on food printing, data smashing (it’s not as violent as it sounds), developing the jamming gripper, self-replication of machines and so on. The lab was originally founded at Cornell University in 2001 but shifted to Columbia in 2015.  Alumni have gone into research, teaching, and founding entrepreneurial ventures.

University of California, Berkeley: Berkeley SETI

University of California, Berkeley: Berkeley SETI
Photo courtesy: Seth Shostak/SETI Institute

At the University of California, Berkeley, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research Center offers undergraduates from a variety of disciplines, such as earth science and space sciences, an opportunity to look for cosmic company.Students also design software that can study radio telescopes, improve search algorithms, and refine networks that connect all the computers. Many of the alumni have gone on to further research and work with institutions like NASA, Ormat Technologies and others.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Toy Lab

Each spring only 90 students at MIT get to opt for Toy Design as an elective during their freshman year. Understandably one of the most popular electives, the syllabus at the MIT’s Toy Lab requires students to design and prototype a toy or a game. The students also test these prototypes on actual kids for feedback. Some of the alumni of the course have gone on to launch their own startups such as Learning Beautiful while others worked with institutions such as Yale University, Cornell University, Boston University and more.

Stanford University: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Stanford University: SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
Photo courtesy: SLAC Website

Stanford University runs this lab for the Department of Energy. The SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a research facility wheresome of the essential building blocks of matter have been discovered. Every summer, undergraduate students work with thousands of scientists, and learn about the origin of the universe and the nature of dark energy, using SLAC’s revolutionary X-ray laser. Alumni of the course have gone on to research and worked with institutions like the NASA, CERN and more.

Cornell University: The Game Design Initiative

Cornell University: The Game Design Initiative
Photo courtesy: GDIC at Cornell, Facebook Page

Housed within the Department of Computer Science, The Game Design Initiative, offers a minor in Game Design to Cornell students regardless of major.

Those who enroll can take classes on foundations of artificial intelligence and computer animation. ­The GDIC lab enables students to research the social and technical aspects, as well as the aesthetic and creative ones, and thenbuild their own video games. GDIC also collaborates with university departments like Music, Fine Arts and Communications. Alumni have gone on to work on games like The Sims and Spore.

Related Links:
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