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A female student and a male student work on prototypes in the Fischer '72 Engineering Design Center. The female student is holding a thermal device while coding on a laptop.
During Phantom Invents, students and soldiers will have access to the state-of-the-art Fischer '72 Engineering Design Center for their prototypes and presentations. | Image: Danielle Sullivan/Texas A&M Engineering

The College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, in partnership with the U.S. Army’s III Armored Corps, is hosting an Intensive Design Experience (IDE) training event called Phantom Invents, taking place from June 12-16, 2023. This event will bring together 30 soldiers and 30 students for a unique opportunity to unlock the process of innovation and foster problem-solving skills among the participants.

The IDE training event aims to equip soldiers and students with the necessary tools and mindset to approach challenges through an innovative lens. By providing an innovation mindset framework and hands-on design and building exercises, participants will develop specific knowledge of the innovation process and gain confidence in their ability to replicate this process in various situations, even under time constraints.

One of the key objectives of the IDE training event is to highlight the importance of multidisciplinary teams and their creative abilities in solving complex problems. With 30 soldiers and 30 students, these participants will gain an understanding of and value the contributions made by teams with diverse backgrounds, enhancing their problem-solving capabilities. These participants will be solving need statements that vary from improving tactical network connectivity while reducing manpower requirements to improving a camouflage system that is rapidly deployable and collapsible and can camouflage a vehicle or tent from visual and thermal observation.

To facilitate the practical implementation of their ideas, the soldiers and students will have access to state-of-the-art prototyping facilities, enabling them to bring their designs to life. Additionally, they will learn modern design practices and acquire the skills to perform tradeoffs between designs using feasibility, cost, innovation and deployment criteria.

Phantom Invents combines formal training sessions with practical activities that address real-world problems. By incorporating regularly scheduled deliverables and purposeful intensity, participants will be fully immersed in the innovation and design process, fostering their problem-solving abilities.