E.A. Fernandez IDEA (Innovate, Design and Engineer for America) Factory

xFoundry's home of innovation at the University of Maryland

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The E.A. Fernandez IDEA Factory serves as a force multiplier for addressing society’s grand challenges and promotes the values, skills, and experiences that great problem-solvers need. It is the only building at UMD funded entirely by private philanthropy with the intent of fostering technology innovations and advances through collaboration across engineering, the arts, business, and science. A signature resource within Maryland's Technology Enterprise Institute, which is widely recognized for catalyzing technology-focused economic growth in the region and nation.

The IDEA Factory is a spectacular addition to UMD’s robust and growing innovation ecosystem.

President Darryll J. Pines

The IDEA Factory is specifically designed to spark students’ interest in innovative new ideas, and to generate the momentum to transform those ideas into reality.

Angel P. Bezos '69

“The IDEA Factory will be a home for the entire campus to develop their ideas.”

Tom Scholl

Take a tour

Through the eyes of a drone, fly around and explore the different spaces in the IDEA Factory.

Explore the IDEA spaces

The $67 million, 60,000 square foot E. A. Fernandez IDEA Factory is the only building at UMD funded entirely by private philanthropy, intending to foster technology innovations and advances through collaboration across engineering, the arts, business, and science.

Learn more about the different spaces students will use to help them develop their solutions to solving grand challenges.

Tom & Susan Scholl Center for Student Innovation

Encompassing the entire first floor and dedicated to student innovation, competition, and entrepreneurship, the center includes a student co-working, design, and fabrication space, a rapid prototyping lab, the Startup Shell, and the xFoundry's Team and Executive Director's offices.

The ALEx Garage

Focusing on teams working to solve significant problems, the Garage will offer space to rotating groups developing prototypes and working to bring them to market.

Angel P. Bezos ’69 Rapid Prototyping Lab

Equipped with 3D printers and other in-demand gear, the lab joins a community of campus maker spaces that inspired Make:magazine to spotlight UMD as one of the nation's "best maker schools."

A student-run, nonprofit startup incubator founded in 2012 by two entrepreneurial students. To date, Startup Shell has supported over 300 student ventures and provides a network containing over $1B in venture value. It provides students with a 24/7 coworking space with digital and physical resources to found their startups. Examples include credits on Amazon Web Services and DigitalOcean platforms, free file storage on Dropbox, access to IP assistance, and more.

IDEA Central Café

The glass-enclosed café on the second floor is a new spot for the engineering community. Open throughout the week during the academic year from 7:30 am to 5 pm and offering breakfast and lunch, bakery options, and coffee. The café space will serve to accommodate community startups that partner with xFoundry and UMD Diner Services to bring new culinary experiences and technology to the IDEA Factory. 

Pedro Wasmer '62 Conference Room

A modular conference room for meetings, ideating sessions, and other events. Since its inception, it has hosted influential external events, such as a roundtable discussion with Congressman Glenn Ivey (D-MD) on ways Prince George’s County can further develop as an innovation hub.

Ortanez Family Terrace

Located on the second floor adjacent to the IDEA Central Café, this outdoor space connects to the Kim Plaza below and is a great meeting point for faculty, staff, and students. It will eventually host the Smart Living Canopy that was designed through an xFoundry competition in collaboration with the Schools of Architecture, Engineering, and Computer Sciences.

Randy Ortanez ‘82 Innovation Bridge

This skybridge connects the IDEA Factory to the second floor of the Jeong H. Kim Engineering Building.

Home of the Maryland Robotics Center, this multi-purpose lab hosts motion capture technology, assembly and testing areas, and a range of robots including Spot the robotic dog (Boston Robotics) and Husky (Clearpath Robotics). It also supports capstone projects for the Robotics and Autonomous Systems Minor.

Robert J. Flanagan Collaboration Corner

The collaboration space is located in the glow of the IDEA Factory's dichroic glass, allowing students to hang out and study next to the Robotics and Autonomy Lab.

Lockheed Martin Rotorcraft Labs

A new home for the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center (AGRC), one of three national rotorcraft centers of excellence. Research in the AGRC includes aerodynamics, flight mechanics, vibrations, structures, computational fluid dynamics, acoustics, and other topics. The lab houses a monorail hoist to haul heavy equipment up from the ground through large double doors on the building’s side.

With state-of-the-art laboratories to isolate delicate experiments, the Quantum Technology Center is where students and researchers focus on translating quantum physics into real-world translational technologies to address some of society's toughest challenges.

Microscopy Lab

Part of the Maryland NanoCenter, the lab houses an atomic resolution aberration-corrected electron microscope with full analytical capabilities.

The IDEA Factory will accelerate the inclusive collaboration that our society needs in order to solve its grand challenges.

Emilio A. Fernandez '69