An updated, high-end Computer-Aided Design Lab was dedicated Oct. 15 in Randolph Hall. The Virginia Tech CAD Lab, in operation since 1983, recently underwent its 10th installation of new equipment, with 28 new Quad core Intel i7 iMacs, each with dual display screens in 27 inches and 24 inches. The computers, boasting 16 GB of RAM each, are outfitted to run Windows 7 as well, for PC-minded students.

“We wanted to make sure we exceeded the high end of the industry today,” said Jan Helge Bøhn, director of the Virginia Tech Computer Aided Design Laboratory and associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The lab is open to all Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff, added Bøhn. Students owning laptops is commonplace now, so the lab boasts software unavailable or cost-prohibitive to students, the ability to multi-link with partner university labs from around the country and across the world via webcam and high-end video conferencing equipment with projection video, and the larger screens for multiple students to view in group. 

“When you have six students looking at a 12-inch screen, that’s not a good thing,” Bohn said. New carpet also was added.

The lab’s primary funding averages $50,000 per year, with the recent lab room renovation funded by the mechanical engineering department and the new student engineering fee, and equipment upgrade funded by the Virginia Tech Learning Technologies and the Partners for Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE). Since its opening, the lab has been run under two consecutive university partnerships, the Virginia Tech Computing Center (1983-2001) and Learning Technologies (2001-present).