MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Lane Innovation Hub, a state-of-the-art facility for prototype development on the Morgantown Campus of WVU has been formally dedicated. The hub operates within the Benjamin Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.
Named after 1968 WVU graduate Ray Lane and his wife Stephanie, the 9,500 square foot facility supports entrepreneurial, business and government to develop new technologies with the slogan of “Make it a Reality.”
“It’s a hybrid facility combining a student-focused maker space and a university-level fabrication service center dedicated to making the ideas of students, faculty and staff become a reality,” Dustin Spayde, Director of the Lane Innovation Hub said.
The hub does not fund the projects, but the service center has the equipment to completely produce prototypes across the spectrum. According to Spayde, the prototype, or proof of concept is the most important step in moving an idea to a product, service or tool.
“Government funded projects, to companies, to individuals external to WVU as well as research projects and internal entrepreneurial projects that come from inside WVU,” Spayde said.
The hub has already made a significant impact in the community by producing thousands of test swabs for coronavirus testing during the pandemic, and more recently, prototypes for a small-scale MRI machine and laser cut design tools for the Fashion, Dress and Merchandising program.
“We’ve done some drone work for the Department of Defense and we’ve also done a lot to support our competition teams inside the College of Engineering,” Spayde said.
The hub also aligns in concept with the WVU Vantage Ventures in supporting and growing entrepreneurial ideas.
“The Lane Innovation Hub fits in to a much larger entrepreneurial ecosystem that we have at WVU,” Spayde said. “It has been completely mapped out by Industrial Extension Office.”
At a recent WVU Board of Governors meeting President Gordon Gee said nearly half of incoming students have entrepreneurial ideas that are important to support to remain academically relevant.
“I see that we have tremendous potential for students who want to do entrepreneurial activities and I think there a lot of examples out in the world today,” Spayde said. “I think plenty of those can come from West Virginia.”