Whether you’re flying solo or growing your startup, there's a community of changemakers eager to connect and support you along your journey. Join us at these events — many virtual so you can attend from anywhere in the world — and start engaging with our global impact + innovation ecosystem!



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Innovation on Tap: Fred Higgs, Engineering at Rice University

February 9 @ 16:00 - 18:00 CST

Discuss research in the speaker’s engineering lab at Rice University on key Industry 4.0 technologies, namely additive manufacturing.

Are you and your company ready for Industry 4.0 disruption: one engineer’s viewpoint

In the first Industrial Revolution, wealth was produced with machines that work the lands. In the second Industrial Revolution, wealth was produced by factories with assembly lines of machines configured to achieve mass production. In the third Industrial Revolution, computing power increased wealth by making the machines autonomous and thus more productive with less labor. However, in the fourth Industrial Revolution, wealth will be created by machines and processes with data and the speed at which information can be extracted from it. This latest industrial revolution is giving birth to Industry 4.0 and the next-generation factory, with its internet-connected autonomous systems that are completely digitalized to produce data-driven personalized products. And the impact of Industry 4.0 is pervasive. All companies must not only become Industry 4.0 ready, but they must effectively become technology companies.

Some of the key engineering applications which form the technological foundation of Industry 4.0 are sensors within the internet of things (IoT), digital twins, artificial intelligence (AI), and additive manufacturing (3D printing). The ‘blood’ that runs through and connects these technologies is data, and the ‘brain’ that knows how to interpret and react to the data is AI. This talk will not only discuss the current state of Industry 4.0, but it will also discuss the disruption currently happening in key industries. A significant portion of this talk will also discuss research in the speaker’s engineering lab at Rice University on key Industry 4.0 technologies, namely additive manufacturing (or 3D printing); we will see how this research impacts the energy, space, and biomedical sectors. When the fourth industrial revolution is in full gear, products (no matter the scale or complexity) will be produced faster, cheaper, and completely tailored to a customer’s needs. The speaker’s industry 4.0 lens will also be extended to your workforce, which must be richly staffed with engineering manager leaders who are trained to overlay Industry 4.0 approaches to the challenges in your company’s product and service lines. Either your company is becoming Industry 4.0 ready, or it is slowly dying by the disruption of a start-up who is.

We invite attendees to join Fred and event attendees for networking at Second Draught after the talk.

Innovation on Tap: Disruptive Technology Talks with Houston’s Leading Researchers

Industrial innovation is in the DNA of Houston (energy, health, space, and transportation), and the Ion is at the forefront of moving the city to become a technology destination, a central place where we support bold moves that embrace the innovation economy at an industrial scale. The Ion is a place where we accelerate disruption by connecting people and ideas to create a future that will not only change Houston but change the world.

The Ion Innovation on Tap lecture series is focused on bridging world-leading academic research to the broader innovation ecosystem, creating connections and partnerships that will not only accelerate translation and commercialization but form relationships that will drive future fundamental advances needed to address fundamental problems like decarbonization, personalized health care, and create resilient and sustainable livable communities.

Examples of disruptive technology include but are not limited to AI and machine learning, robotics, synthetic biology, neuro-engineering, nano-materials, cyber security, imaging, blockchain, and quantum computing.

The lecture series will feature leading researchers spanning engineering, science, and design, showcasing advanced technology and innovation from academic research labs and programs. Largely inaccessible and buried in journals and conference proceedings, technology will be presented in an accessible TED-style lecture format with ample networking opportunities. The disruptive technology lecture series will serve as a magnifying glass connecting fundamental technology to people and organizations that can benefit and help activate technology through commercialization. More than that, the lecture series will serve as a front door for collaboration between researchers and industry partners and/or the formation of new technology startups that will help establish Ion and Houston as a global hub for innovation.

Parking Instructions

Visitor Parking Lot: Enter 4200 Fannin Street into your GPS for directions directly to the visitor parking lot, located in front of The Ion building.

Overflow Parking Instructions: Enter 4203 Fannin Street into your GPS for directions directly to this parking lot, located across the street from The Ion building.


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