Expeditions: Ann Arbor

The first ever ECE Expeditions trip took students on a tour of Ann Arbor companies NeuroNexus, Quantum Signal, and Menlo Innovations.
Ann Arbor Liberty Street at night Enlarge

Companies that participated

NeuroNexus logo Enlarge

NeuroNexus is a neurotechnology company providing advanced brain interface devices and systems for neurological and scientific applications. The company’s proprietary technologies consist of (i) microelectrode arrays that can be used to sense and/or stimulate activity in the nervous system and (ii) advanced instrumentation systems that can be used to control the recording, stimulating and analyzing of neurological signals. Through its involvement with neuroscientists and clinicians around the world, NeuroNexus has the unique ability to provide state-of-the-art solutions to enable advanced research in brain function as well as the causes and treatments of neurological conditions.

The tour of NeuroNexus involved a deep dive into (i) the manufacturing processes of the MEMS-based microelectrode arrays and (ii) the active development of a new instrumentation system (referred to as the “Smartbox”), which requires analog and digital circuit design, embedded systems design and software design.

Quantum Signal Logo Enlarge

Quantum Signal, LLC (QS) is a privately held, advanced engineering technology firm founded in 1999 as a spin-off of the University of Michigan. Building on its early start in signal processing algorithm development and consulting,the company has grown into a multi-faceted engineering product development powerhouse specializing in advanced math-based engineering and real-time simulation. QS builds cutting edge applications and systems that meet unique user requirements, typically based on new, innovative technologies that are developed in-house by its extraordinary technical staff. The team has developed and delivered products to customers both in the public and private sectors, in fields as far ranging as surveillance, robotics, biometrics, dermatology, forensics, entertainment, and much more. QS work can be found in diverse places like laboratories, police stations, universities, retail stores, and more in countries all around the world. QS is headquartered in a historic 1930 high school in Saline, Michigan. In short, QS is a company where innovation is not a buzzword; it is a part of the DNA and lives in everything that goes on each and every day!

The tour of Quantum Signal involved an overview of the company, staff presentations on their work in robotics, software, development, and/or game modeling. Students also visited laboratories and offices includes such facilities as a gymnasium, performance stage, video-game research lounge, nuclear shelter, and even a “dungeon.”

Menlo Innovations logo Enlarge

Founded in 2001, Menlo Innovations was created by the creative and productive work of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park, New Jersey “Invention Factory”. One of Inc. 500’s fastest growing privately held firms in the U.S., Menlo’s driving factor is creating useful and marketable products that deliver real business value through strategic design and software development. The mission of Menlo is to end human suffering in the world as it relates to technology.

The tour of Menlo, led by two current engineers, showcased the labs and offices of the organizations. The tour guides also provided first-hand insight on corporate culture and finding passion and excitement in your work. All participants received a free copy of the book, Joy, Inc., written by CEO and ECE Alumnus, Richard Sheridan.

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