Protein Lab

Dieciocho 369-417, Santiago, Región Metropolitana

Makerspace

Opened in January 2008

Structure type Center of Innovation and Technology Transfer of the University UTEM

Explored in November 2018


Our mission is to foster interdisciplinary research and exploration in digital technologies for innovation of products, services and applications in conjunction with industry and public-private institutions national and international.

Main interests

Fashion & textile Technology - machines & tools Entrepreneurship Industry & innovation

This workshop is great for:

Schools & universities Small & medium businesses Large companies Entrepreneurs Students

Our workshop

Learn more about our space, members, machines & services!

8 employees, 10 projects made in collaboration with companies, students and entrepreneurs in smart cities, health, agriculture, textiles. 7 projects of investigation with teachers and students made in digital fabrication, IoT, tangible interfaces and connectivity digital. Everything achieved with a balance of costs and incomes… These results reached by Protein Lab in 2018 are impressive.

Today, this makerspace is defined as the Center of Innovation and Technology Transfer of the University UTEM. Its mission is to foster interdisciplinary research and exploration in digital technologies for innovation of products, services and applications in conjunction with industry and public-private institutions national and international. To make it possible it opens his doors to students, teachers and entrepreneurs, offering them support respectively for their thesis, investigation and projects and gathering in exchange knowledge and expertise in new technological areas.

However, this promising space wasn’t built by the wave of a magic wand. In 2004, it was just an office where Hector Torres, its funder and products designer, was investigating how technology can be integrated into new products by designers in Chile. His experience in Barcelone where he studied and worked a few years fed his interest and vision about the potential of technology for the future products made by designers. He convinced his University, where he taught, to support him in the creation of an observatory to monitor innovation in technological products and start investigating in new applications. After 8 years many ideas arose and attracted investors’ attention. However, it couldn’t be materialized due to the lack of adapted infrastructure. As a consequence, he managed to transform his observatory in his first makerspace with the help of the University. Gradually, he bought machines and hire complementary profiles of makers according to the users’ needs.

Locally, to reinforce their position of key players in the development of new products, the team will develop an innovation unit dedicated to the new methodologies of innovation and to the promotion of disruptive businesses and investigation.

Internationally, they aim to develop a red of Protein Labs in partnership with Universities, such as the one of Bresil which whom they are already collaborating and asked them for replicating their model there.

Based on their experience, the future of Protein Lab will be now placed under the labels of collaboration and distribution.

The protein lab’s team is composed of 8 people with various profiles but with a common ADN whose nuclides are Design, Electronics and computer science. They are teachers and student trainees of the UTEM University and entrepreneurs. All are there to work on the investigation (10% of the lab activity), for projects ordered by companies (80%) and/or to give a hand to student and entrepreneurs’ projects (10%).

There are two directors, Héctor Torres and Macarena Valenzuela. The latter is the founder of the protein lab and design teacher of the university. The former has worked for companies before and took part in the implementation of innovation labs. Their function is to manage the lab, the team and the relationship with universities and companies.

One particularity of this lab is that some teachers of the university come very regularly as members of the team. Francis Soto and Víctor Meza are specialized in electronics, Sergio Abarca in computer science and Manuel Lara is more oriented in Design.

Students can also do their thesis like María José who do an internship. In 2018, they were 4 and some of them, such as Josué Alarcón, a former student in design, can be hired after their studies.

Besides, Entrepreneurs can enter the team. Diego Vilches, a textile designer, is a resident of the lab where he can develop its own project under its name but has a contract with the lab to make investigation, to share his knowledge with lab members and to perform projects under the name of the lab.

And finally, some consultants work for the lab like Hugo Durney, Víctor Escobar, Carlos Cáceres, Pamela Armstrong to do investigations.

The strategy of this team is to choose opportunities instead of tackling all of them. To be selected, they have to be in line with the lab’s ADN and the strength of the team.

As a university lab, the community is essentially made of teachers and students but also entrepreneurs. In 2017, 17 people used frequently the lab.

Teachers are coming to work on investigation to produce papers and patents. Students find here the machines and the help to fulfill their final projects and even their thesis. And Entrepreneurs have access to a place to work, machine to develop their prototype and can be easily in contact with motivated students to make their team grow.

Besides those profiles, this lab is open to everyone. The access criterion is to have a project which involves design, electronics or computer science.

To attract more people, there is no formal communication. It works by word of mouth. Sufficient to even attract students from other universities! As from now, a yearly presentation is done for design student (it is easier when one know the founder is a design teacher of the university) and workshops have been done specifically for UTEM’s teachers.

Once you enter the lab, you can be trained on the required machine depending on your project and the “Go” of the team will allow you to be autonomous.

The area of influence of the lab is beyond the Chilean frontier. They succeeded in creating the « Design Studio », an international program with an Australian university thanks to the connection made by Héctor Torres when he worked there. The target is to replicate those initiatives and diffuse the concept of Protein lab.

The lab modestly started with computers and an area who belonged to the UTEM university. They essentially responded to the needs of theoretical projects done by students and teachers. But the growing interest motivated Hector Torres to raise funds. He succeeded to get 50 000 000 Chilean pesos (64 K€) from the university in 2013, 5 years after the first computers had been plugged. One year later the lab started to diversify its revenues by offering investigation & project development services to companies. Today, 80% of the revenue come from the university but this university dependence is reducing as the lab’s strategy is to be more autonomous while keeping a free rent. The rest comes from projects done for companies. With an 80 000 000 pesos of revenues (100 K€), the lab is at break even. Its main costs are human resources, machines maintenance and the acquisition of new machines.

But, the global revenue of the protein lab is much more than the financial one as a part of it is the knowledge shared by entrepreneurs when they are incubated. Indeed, all university students and entrepreneurs agree to develop their product in collaboration with the protein lab team and thus share its knowledge and added value for the free access to protein lab’s working space and all the machines. In that way, the currency is the knowledge. In consequence, all the projects are documented for internal uses.

To justify the part of the revenue that comes from the university, he lab has to show investigation indicators such as the number of publications (4 so far, meat printing, 3D printing on textile material, logistic monitoring and wireless communication for weather station), business indicators (number of clients, number of projects done,…) and teaching indicators (number of courses, number of students reached,…).

8 employees, 10 projects made in collaboration with companies, students and entrepreneurs in smart cities, health, agriculture, textiles. 7 projects of investigation with teachers and students made in digital fabrication, IoT, tangible interfaces and connectivity digital. Everything achieved with a balance of costs and incomes… These results reached by Protein Lab in 2018 are impressive.

Today, this makerspace is defined as the Center of Innovation and Technology Transfer of the University UTEM. Its mission is to foster interdisciplinary research and exploration in digital technologies for innovation of products, services and applications in conjunction with industry and public-private institutions national and international. To make it possible it opens his doors to students, teachers and entrepreneurs, offering them support respectively for their thesis, investigation and projects and gathering in exchange knowledge and expertise in new technological areas.

However, this promising space wasn’t built by the wave of a magic wand. In 2004, it was just an office where Hector Torres, its funder and products designer, was investigating how technology can be integrated into new products by designers in Chile. His experience in Barcelone where he studied and worked a few years fed his interest and vision about the potential of technology for the future products made by designers. He convinced his University, where he taught, to support him in the creation of an observatory to monitor innovation in technological products and start investigating in new applications. After 8 years many ideas arose and attracted investors’ attention. However, it couldn’t be materialized due to the lack of adapted infrastructure. As a consequence, he managed to transform his observatory in his first makerspace with the help of the University. Gradually, he bought machines and hire complementary profiles of makers according to the users’ needs.

Locally, to reinforce their position of key players in the development of new products, the team will develop an innovation unit dedicated to the new methodologies of innovation and to the promotion of disruptive businesses and investigation.

Internationally, they aim to develop a red of Protein Labs in partnership with Universities, such as the one of Bresil which whom they are already collaborating and asked them for replicating their model there.

Based on their experience, the future of Protein Lab will be now placed under the labels of collaboration and distribution.

The protein lab’s team is composed of 8 people with various profiles but with a common ADN whose nuclides are Design, Electronics and computer science. They are teachers and student trainees of the UTEM University and entrepreneurs. All are there to work on the investigation (10% of the lab activity), for projects ordered by companies (80%) and/or to give a hand to student and entrepreneurs’ projects (10%).

There are two directors, Héctor Torres and Macarena Valenzuela. The latter is the founder of the protein lab and design teacher of the university. The former has worked for companies before and took part in the implementation of innovation labs. Their function is to manage the lab, the team and the relationship with universities and companies.

One particularity of this lab is that some teachers of the university come very regularly as members of the team. Francis Soto and Víctor Meza are specialized in electronics, Sergio Abarca in computer science and Manuel Lara is more oriented in Design.

Students can also do their thesis like María José who do an internship. In 2018, they were 4 and some of them, such as Josué Alarcón, a former student in design, can be hired after their studies.

Besides, Entrepreneurs can enter the team. Diego Vilches, a textile designer, is a resident of the lab where he can develop its own project under its name but has a contract with the lab to make investigation, to share his knowledge with lab members and to perform projects under the name of the lab.

And finally, some consultants work for the lab like Hugo Durney, Víctor Escobar, Carlos Cáceres, Pamela Armstrong to do investigations.

The strategy of this team is to choose opportunities instead of tackling all of them. To be selected, they have to be in line with the lab’s ADN and the strength of the team.

As a university lab, the community is essentially made of teachers and students but also entrepreneurs. In 2017, 17 people used frequently the lab.

Teachers are coming to work on investigation to produce papers and patents. Students find here the machines and the help to fulfill their final projects and even their thesis. And Entrepreneurs have access to a place to work, machine to develop their prototype and can be easily in contact with motivated students to make their team grow.

Besides those profiles, this lab is open to everyone. The access criterion is to have a project which involves design, electronics or computer science.

To attract more people, there is no formal communication. It works by word of mouth. Sufficient to even attract students from other universities! As from now, a yearly presentation is done for design student (it is easier when one know the founder is a design teacher of the university) and workshops have been done specifically for UTEM’s teachers.

Once you enter the lab, you can be trained on the required machine depending on your project and the “Go” of the team will allow you to be autonomous.

The area of influence of the lab is beyond the Chilean frontier. They succeeded in creating the « Design Studio », an international program with an Australian university thanks to the connection made by Héctor Torres when he worked there. The target is to replicate those initiatives and diffuse the concept of Protein lab.

The lab modestly started with computers and an area who belonged to the UTEM university. They essentially responded to the needs of theoretical projects done by students and teachers. But the growing interest motivated Hector Torres to raise funds. He succeeded to get 50 000 000 Chilean pesos (64 K€) from the university in 2013, 5 years after the first computers had been plugged. One year later the lab started to diversify its revenues by offering investigation & project development services to companies. Today, 80% of the revenue come from the university but this university dependence is reducing as the lab’s strategy is to be more autonomous while keeping a free rent. The rest comes from projects done for companies. With an 80 000 000 pesos of revenues (100 K€), the lab is at break even. Its main costs are human resources, machines maintenance and the acquisition of new machines.

But, the global revenue of the protein lab is much more than the financial one as a part of it is the knowledge shared by entrepreneurs when they are incubated. Indeed, all university students and entrepreneurs agree to develop their product in collaboration with the protein lab team and thus share its knowledge and added value for the free access to protein lab’s working space and all the machines. In that way, the currency is the knowledge. In consequence, all the projects are documented for internal uses.

To justify the part of the revenue that comes from the university, he lab has to show investigation indicators such as the number of publications (4 so far, meat printing, 3D printing on textile material, logistic monitoring and wireless communication for weather station), business indicators (number of clients, number of projects done,…) and teaching indicators (number of courses, number of students reached,…).

Machines & tools available

3D printing machine MAKERBOT replicator 2 3D Printing machine MAKERBOT Replicator 2X CNC router ROLAND MDX 50 3D printing machine MAKERBOT Z18

Technologies & processes available

3D printing Laser cutting CNC milling Computing & softwares Electronics Textile machines Vinyl cutting Wood working tools Traditional tools

Services offered

Exchange programs Student Internship Free machines & tools access Startups & projects hosting

Our best practices

The inspiring things we do here to run our collaborative space

« Trello » for project documentation

categories
Documenting the workshop’s life

What it is?

The team has implemented a digital board with the collaborative tool « Trello » to manage and monitor the status of the projects developed into the lab.

In concrete terms?

Trello is a simple tool with various functionalities dedicated to project management. It looks like a board organized by columns and cards you can easily drag and drop from one column to another. You can also link to each cards photos and files.

The team has created a board for each project. Every project’s holder has access to its corresponding board to indicate the steps he reached and thus indicate the evolution of its project. Each member of the lab team has access to the project he is involved in. The project holder has to describe the steps of the project and describe how he used the machines (process, inputs, outputs, parameters,…) into a word document that is then linked to a specific Trello card.

For example, you can have a column named « material to purchase » the second one « purchasing » and a third one « purchase done » with a card for each material and a link of the website to finalize the purchase and word document to describe the reason and tips related to the choice of the material. Also, you can have a column for the status of each step « To be started », « Started », « Ended » and a card for each action to be done.

Why is it interesting

This very rigorous process allows having a good picture of the current status of each project. It is very helpful to : - Organize the lab team. You can assign the right person at the best moment. - Have all the information to exchange efficiently about the key point of the project. - Have a track record of the project difficulties to anticipate them and best practices to replicate them for future projects. - Train newcomers in the lab team.

Also, it is a process to get indicators. All the more when you have to report some to entities like the « Corfo » who finance projects in Chile and ask indicators to follow project evolution. As it is the case for many Proteinlab’s projects.


Our makers projects

Get inspired by the DIY projects of our team & members

Mouti

It is an educational toothbrush that allows children from the age of 3 to develop oral hygiene habits that they will keep their whole life. The innovation is based on the use of colors and logos used to indicate to the child the duration of brushing and the part of the mouth to be brushed. This product is particularly suitable for autistic or hyperactive children.


Fashion - Digital fabrication textile

Line of fashion clothes made with digital manufacturing.


Cooking textiles

It is a technique of creating textile shapes with heat using kitchen utensils and a mold built in a makerspace, consisting of a positive part and a negative part. This mold can be in wood or plastic. In the case of wood, the fabric is inserted into the mold and heated in an oven. In the second case, we use a saucepan.


Interactive system of geographical exhibition

It is a 3D visualization system of maps.


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