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The University of Utah's Center for Engineering Innovation opened its doors Thursday with a celebration.

The event, aimed at showing the public how it transforms inventions into ready-to-produce devices, included "speed dating" in which inventors and companies with new product ideas could meet for 15 minutes with engineers to explore bringing concepts to market.

"It's about generating leads by discovering what inventors' needs are," says center staff member Loren Rieth, a research associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university. "If it's not a match, the center is good at playing switchboard to plug them into other resources here."

The center is at the university's James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building.

Housed within the College of Engineering and closely aligned with Utah Nanofab — the university facility that builds micro- and nanoscale devices — center staff members collaborate with university engineering and health sciences faculty to transform ideas into production-ready prototypes.

Engineers guide clients through front-end activities, including writing project proposals. Prototypes then are crafted in university facilities and undergo reliability testing.

The Salt Lake Tribune