Supporting Research Across IPaT Labs
Tim Trent is known at Georgia Tech’s Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) for his dedicated and enthusiastic research, operations, and makerspace support. Last year, Trent, a faculty member of IPaT and a computer science graduate of Georgia Tech, helped unveil the Craft Lab, Georgia Tech’s newest makerspace — and one of several makerspaces he manages. The Craft Lab, located in the Technology Square Research Building (TSRB) Room 225B, is a unique makerspace that offers students hands-on industrial tools to delve into computational craft, e-textiles, and soft electronics. The equipment in the lab is particularly well-suited for wearable and flexible electronic systems and making soft goods.
“The Craft Lab is a new makerspace launched during GVU’s 30th anniversary. What is exciting to me is that we’ve gathered crafting tools and industrial precision machines in a single location,“ said Trent. “I have never seen a makerspace at Georgia Tech with the types of capabilities we have concentrated in our new lab.”
Trent also supports the IPaT/GVU prototyping lab. This lab houses 3D printers, a waterjet, CNC mills, CNC Router, saws, metal grinders, drill press, and other tools found in traditional makerspaces including surface-mount printed circuit board production and silk screening. The prototyping lab is located in the TSRB basement, Room S21.
“The Craft Lab has industrial machines that can really help folks when they have gotten past the initial prototype stage of their research,” said Trent. “For example, if someone needed to make 100 versions of something like sensor embedded clothing to deploy it, being able to have the speed and consistency of our industrial sewing machines could be critical to meet research timelines and prototype creation needs.”
In addition to managing laboratories, Trent provides diverse operational support for IPaT that spans audiovisual services, website management and programming, and event support.
“Tim is an asset to IPaT and the IPaT community. He never hesitates to assist in any capacity,” said Cynthia Moore, assistant director for business operations for IPaT. “During our annual Foley Scholars event, Tim was readily available and jumped in where needed, from assisting with A/V needs to providing tours of IPaT's labs. As a research technologist, Tim has become the go-to person for all things lab support, A/V needs, and so much more for IPaT.”
“Tim Trent and his research faculty colleagues at IPaT are a critical component of Georgia Tech’s complex research enterprise,” said Maribeth Gandy Coleman, director of research for IPaT and a Regents’ Researcher.
“The mission of IPaT is to advocate for and support the use of human-centered techniques throughout the research life cycle. Toward this goal, IPaT provides a variety of core facilities and services for the campus community, which spans a wide array of disciplines. Tim’s unique expertise lies at the intersection of technology, human computer interaction, and design coupled with many years of experience in research operations. This skill set allows him to support faculty and students throughout the human-centered design process of user experiences that involve the integration of computing devices with the physical world and objects. Tim helps researchers utilize our lab facilities to create a wide range of prototypes, starting with low fidelity prototypes using cardboards and paper all the way to systems ready for deployment with complex embedded hardware and tangible 3D components.
“He is an experienced human computer interaction researcher, which means that he understands the methods employed by the IPaT community as well as the requirements of systems intended for scientific experiments. Tim’s contributions to Georgia Tech research both catalyze new projects that otherwise might not be possible and amplify their impact, to the benefit of society,” said Coleman.