University of Hawai`i Celebrates the Grand Opening of the UH i-Lab

New innovation lab aims to improve the entrepreneurial success of UH research

University of Hawaiʻi
Vassilis L. Syrmos, (808) 956-5006
Vice President for Research and Innovation
Eric R. Matsunaga, (808) 956-5588
Director, Research and Administrative Operations, Office of the VP for Research and Innovation
Posted: Mar 2, 2016

Link to video:

HONOLULU – The University of Hawai`i (UH) celebrated the grand opening of its new UH i-Lab (innovation lab) at an invitation-only event on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 3:00 p.m.; 2532 Correra Road, UH Mānoa.

Inspired by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, also known as the D.School, the University of Hawai‘i has created a lab based on those same principles – of exposing students to experiences that get them involved with innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Our visit to Stanford’s famed D.School served as a tremendous source of inspiration for us to create something similar here for our students,” said Vassilis L. Syrmos, UH vice president for research and innovation. “We look forward to it becoming a vibrant hub on the UH Mānoa campus brimming with students and faculty working in collaboration to solve real-world problems with real-world innovative and entrepreneurial solutions.”

The i-Lab features floating whiteboards, chairs and tables that can be moved anywhere and most importantly, an absence of walls -- all of which will help foster the free-flow of thought and sharing of ideas across multiple disciplines.  The reconfigurable space is also equipped with rapid prototyping equipment like 3-D printers and laser cutters that allow students to turn design concepts into working models. The i-Lab is already being used for classes, workshops, lectures, and in the future, will play host to events like start-up weeks and innovation challenges. 

“Many academic and nonacademic units as well as individuals within UH have pulled together magnificently to deliver the UH i-Lab,” said Peter Crouch, UH Mānoa College of Engineering dean who spearheaded the i-Lab effort.  “The i-Lab will be the hub for activities that help students from all over the UH Mānoa campus and the wider community explore notions such as creativity, innovation and eventually entrepreneurship in interdisciplinary groups by grappling with a myriad of challenges and competitions.“

UH Mānoa schools/colleges already participating in activities through the i-Lab, include Architecture, Arts & Humanities, Business, Engineering, Natural Sciences, and Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

“The i-Lab represents another facet of our aggressive and comprehensive efforts to develop and build a thriving innovation, research, education and training enterprise at UH,” said David Lassner, UH president. “By developing talented entrepreneurs from among our faculty and students and fortifying the innovation ecosystem at UH, we are playing a key role in Hawaiʻi’s efforts to diversify our economy, create high-quality jobs and build the foundation for new revenue sources through the Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative.”

About UH Research

Research conducted by the University of Hawai‘i (UH) impacts the quality of life in the islands and around the world. As the state’s major research university, and because of Hawai‘i’s tremendous geographic diversity, UH plays a prominent role in the state’s economic growth and development through its diverse and world-renowned research programs in astronomy, earth and ocean sciences, medicine and tropical agriculture.

About the Hawai`i Innovation Initiative

The University of Hawai‘i is working in partnership with the private sector and government to build a thriving innovation, research, education and training enterprise in Hawai‘i that will develop a third major economic sector for the state, create high-quality living-wage jobs, and address the challenges and opportunities faced by Hawai`i and the world.


Link to video:


Liem Nguyen, UH i-Lab student monitor (:15)

“The iLab is awesome because it’s very unique.  This is the only place at UH where a student can use a 3D printer or have access to their own space and do whatever they want.”

Aaron Nagamine, UH i-Lab student monitor (:20)

“I thought it was a great opportunity for students to just come in here and work on their own, do whatever they want – whether it be 3D printing, 3D scanning, or do digital drawing, they can come here and collaborate on ideas that they think that are good and start their own company or work on their own school projects and stuff like that.”

Peter Crouch, Dean, College of Engineering, UH Mānoa (:20)

“This is the hub, a melting pot, a convening space.  It sits in the center of campus, so it’s easy for students to convene. But we want to rely on the disciplinary innovation spaces as well. So that we can multiply the effect of this space all over the campus and actually all over different campuses.”

B-roll: TRT 1:30


:38    Six scenes: 3-D Printer

:06    One scene: Aaron at 3-D scanner

:31    Four scenes: UH i-Lab opening event

:08    exterior