High-Tech ‘Field Trips’: NTXIA Launches Immersive Innovation Program

The North Texas Innovation Alliance has begun offering quarterly "hands-on innovation experiences" at "the brightest and most innovative projects across North Texas" for NTXIA members. The Immersive Innovation field trips kicked off with a tour of the NSF's newly opened eCAT Center at UNT. Here's where the NTXIA is going next.

The North Texas Innovation Alliance has launched an Immersive Innovation Program to highlight “the brightest and most innovative projects across North Texas” while providing hands-on learning experiences for its members. The program’s first quarterly “field trip” in December offered a tour of the National Science Foundation’s newly opened eCAT Center at the University of North Texas—and more of these “hands-on innovation experiences” are still to come.

The NTXIA is a nonprofit regional consortium of over 40 municipalities, agencies, corporations, and academic institutions across North Texas working to create the most connected, smart and resilient region in the country.

“This program is key for our membership in 2024, as our members have more of a desire than ever to see the latest innovations across the state,” NTXIA Executive Director Jennifer Sanders said in a statement. “The creation of our Immersive Innovation Program stemmed from direct feedback from our members requesting to see innovative research and applications to serve both as inspiration and to identify solutions for each of their unique challenges.”

“At NTXIA, our goal is to act as the connector between the public, private and academic sectors, and this program acts as another way to both educate and connect our members to the latest and greatest innovations in our region,” Sanders added.

The NTXIA Immersive Innovation Program offered a tour of the NSF’s newly opened eCAT Center at UNT [Photo: UNT]

Through the new program, NTXIA is organizing quarterly “hands-on innovation experiences” for its members. These high-tech field trips intend to show off what North Texas innovators are up to.

The NTXIA said that in addition to benefiting its membership, the field trips allow the innovation community across North Texas to showcase research, pilot projects, and campus environments to a diverse audience looking for solutions to a variety of challenges.

Those interactions will enable members to connect with companies and researchers who are at the forefront of cutting-edge technology “that could directly impact the future standard of living and economic development in North Texas,” the NTXIA said,  while allowing members to witness in real-time how emerging technologies and solutions can be applied in real-world settings.

Recapping the first field trip—and looking at what’s next

The NTXIA Immersive Innovation Program offered a tour of the NSF’s newly opened eCAT Center at UNT [Photo: UNT]

The Immersive Innovation Program kicked off in December at the National Science Foundation’s newly opened eCAT Center at the University of North Texas, focusing on research across electric, connected, and autonomous technologies for mobility.

During the day, UNT said the visitors toured its Advanced Air Mobility Test Center and received a first-hand demonstration of a self-driving vehicle by UNT’s Vehicle Autonomy & Intelligence Lab (VAIL).

“NTXIA’s Immersive Innovation series is a fantastic resource for both the public and private sectors to find out more about various innovative groups and solutions across the region,” eCAT Mobility Center Site Director and Professor Song Fu said in a statement. “We were thrilled to be the first official stop of the program. This visit proved to both benefit NTXIA members but also the eCAT center as well. We were able to have open and productive conversations about innovation and about how to bring key solutions to different areas of North Texas. This sharing of information is key when it comes to activating innovative ideas. We are looking forward to seeing how this program grows with NTXIA.”

The NTXIA Immersive Innovation Program offered a tour of the NSF’s newly opened eCAT Center at UNT [Photo: UNT]

Next up: a field trip to the Richardson IQ

NTXIA said the next Immersive Innovation event will be held at the Richardson Innovation Quarter, also known as the Richardson IQ. The living laboratory facility serves both startups and scale-ups in their journey of innovation and solution deployment, NTXIA said.

NTXIA said its goal is to have three to four Immersive Innovation events over the year for its members and that each event will be at a different location, highlighting different technologies and organizations that may be able to offer helpful solutions across the region.

“The feedback we have received thus far from the program has been phenomenal,” NTXIA Director of Strategic Partnerships Yumna Bham said in a statement. “It makes an incredible difference for our members to see these solutions live and to speak with these innovation hubs directly. This is another avenue for our members to be exposed to groundbreaking research and opportunities so they may best serve their communities and stakeholders. We are excited to see how the program will continue to grow throughout this year.”

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