An inventor’s treasure trove lies tucked away in a remote part of Brooklyn.
New Lab, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, is an oasis for artists, engineers and entrepreneurs, serving as a hub where they can quickly concept, build and test products and ideas.
The two-year-old New Lab, which is the home to over 130 NYC startups today, was once Building 128, a machine shop that created parts for ships used in both World Wars, and had since fallen into disrepair.
New Lab’s creators, David Belt and Scott Cohen, turned the 84,000 square-foot facility into a space that would help the entrepreneurs translate their ideas into physical products.
Today, the site houses a 3D printing lab, laser cutters, wood and metal shops, a fabrication shop, an electronics shop, and casting and finishing equipment. This full set of equipment, worth $US5 million total, gives creators everything they need to develop a working prototype.
The shops also come staffed with experts and resources that can help creators learn and troubleshoot. In addition to being a one stop shop for product development, New Lab also serves as a platform where startups can collaborate with each other and seek partnerships with larger companies.
Since its inception, New Lab has attracted a wide array of scientists, engineers, and designers working across disciplines like robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotech, environment, energy, biotech, and urban design.
Take a look inside the immaculately designed New Lab, with innovation showcases around every corner and vibrant colours that pop when contrasted against the building’s steel skeleton.
New Lab has four levels. A visual map is available to visitors when they first walk in.
The first floor holds mainly conference rooms, open desks, and event spaces. It also has a few private studios further from the entrance.
Stationed in the center is a tiny, 3D printed ‘mini-museum’ that explains the theory of perpetual motion.
The cafe is also on the first floor, along with a small kitchenette to the side and a lounge. The colourful cafe counter is fashioned after Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which is a model of human motivation referenced frequently in user experience design.
The lounge also has a mini library where members can check out books.
The lounge faces a clear conference room, the back wall of which is lined with a row of rainbow-coloured, circular neon lights.
The first thing you see after climbing up the stairs to the second level is a line of mini exhibits.
These mini exhibits showcase a range of subjects from the history of manufacturing, to materials used in manufacturing, to the evolution of technology and engineering.
Along the center of the floor is a long expanse of couches and tables that double as public meeting spaces and cafe-like work spaces.
The space is adorned with colourful furniture and tall plants.
The open space is also a way to showcase the works of New Lab’s residents, like this pollution-free, compostable furniture called Mycoform, made by startup Terraform ONE from mushrooms, wood chips, gypsum, oat bran, and other biological materials.
Another example of this is Farmshelf’s vertical farming system, which is a way to grow herbs and vegetables without soil. Farmshelf has also deployed three of these units at Grand Central Station.
New Lab has recently teamed up with Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS to host the Existential Medicine series, which it describes as the first foray into a potential partnership. The series brings together different members of the innovation and medical community, and New Lab hopes that this can be a platform for addressing critical questions about tech disruption in medicine and how it’s trickling down into patient experience.
The first discussion panel of the series included the CEO of Epibone, a startup at JLABS that’s using 3D-printing and stem cells to create bones, a Harvard scientist who’s creating tiny brain-like organoids in jars to understand neurologic disease, and a Cornell scientist who’s growing human blood cells to develop cures for sickle cell anemia.
While New Lab is home to startups across various industry sectors, there are around 10 companies that focus on medical technology. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside their labs, but here are a few of them.
OccamzRazor: an AI-neuroscience company trying to find treatments for Parkinson’s Disease by connecting disease knowledge, research, and drug development.
Everbeat: a wrist device with clinical-grade ECG monitoring that can detect heart problems like atrial fibrillation (AF). Class 2 FDA clearance for this wearable device and its accompanying app is expected in early 2018.
Prosper Technologies: a company that using gas infusion across a range of different application including in health and medicine. These include uses in wound care by using increased oxygen flow to create vasodilation and remove bacteria, normabaric oxygen therapy which can treat certain chemical and thermal injuries, and dental and oral care including treatments for periodontal disease, gingivitis, and halitosis.
Inscope Medical: Inscope Medical is a medical device company focused on developing disposable, connected medical devices to optimise airway management in both routine and emergency procedures.
To become a member, entrepreneurs and companies apply online, after which their application is reviewed by the New Lab team as well as experts in the discipline.
Entrepreneurs can choose between multiple types of memberships depending on their needs. Resident Members with long-term (minimum of one-year) leases at New Lab can occupy desks, loft spaces, or studios. Flex Members can access New Lab without a designated workspace and have the option of using the equipment there.