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We Are Inworks

“Inworks seeks to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems, while in the process creating life-long innovators.”

Inworks is an innovation initiative of the University of Colorado Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus. A home for creators, thinkers, designers, and makers, we’re a collaborative community of learners and leaders committed to solving humanity’s most pressing problems. In our two state-of-the-art prototyping labs, we draw on expertise from many disciplines to create unique solutions to real-world challenges. At Inworks, we learn and teach through making, but we don’t just make things – we make them matter.

Our mission is to impart skills and habits of minds that allow people to collaboratively create impactful solutions to human problems. Inworks seeks to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems, while in the process creating life-long innovators.

Solutions to the hard problems that confront modern society generally require more than one kind of knowledge, and the knowledge needed to solve such problems is often to be found in a completely different domain than the problem itself. Interdisciplinary innovation is thus an essential tool for solving challenging problems, and an essential skill set for people entering the future workforce.

Today’s college graduates will likely have more than ten different careers during their lifetime, and half of those jobs do not exist today. How should we prepare our students for careers that do not yet exist? How do we create an environment in which students learn and practice interdisciplinary innovation? We seek to answer those questions by creating a potent culture for learning, collaboration, and experimentation. 

Our Culture

At Inworks you can expect support, opportunity and accountability. We are a community of innovators, creative thinkers, and empathetic change-makers.

We work to better ourselves so that we may improve the lives of others. We want to change the world, and ourselves.

We respect each other’s person, property, intellect and preference. We respect each other’s ambitions, abilities, and limitations. We respect each other.

We approach our work with purpose, passion and humility. We exhibit and expect integrity and transparency in our interactions with others.

We expect tolerance, patience, persistence, and optimism from ourselves and from each other. We expect to be held accountable by our colleagues.

We embrace intellectual and emotional breadth. We embrace differences. We support one another as friends, colleagues, teammates, and collaborators.

We communicate. We care. We disagree. We lead. We have fun. We collaborate. We laugh. We listen.

We create impactful solutions to human problems in a culture of innovation, creativity, respect, and collaboration.

Stories + Projects

Custom 3D-Printed Part is Now Orbiting the Earth

Student Benjamin Mars had a recent internship at satellite manufacturing start-up York Space Systems (YSS). During his time there he took part in the delicate and multifaceted work that resulted in the launch of a satellite into orbit. Along the way he challenged his communication, critical thinking, and computer software skills… and also stumbled upon Inworks as a resource.

“Throughout the time at YSS I realized my appreciation for developing models in a 3D environment, so as a new hobby I enrolled as a student at Inworks, an innovation workshop on campus, to design my own products that I believe could help improve our modern society.”

After taking a 3D Printing workshop taught by Andrew Henderson, one of the prototypes Ben developed was a thin disk with slits printed out of a material called thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). This was used in the satellite to help reduce vibration damage to the wires in its circuits. Ben stated that the time needed to learn 3D printing and developing a full prototype took longer than expected, but the skills were used at many points during his internship.

Inworks + Children's Hospital Animator Create 3D Printed Heart Model

Inworks CU Anschutz has been busy collaborating with a team of medical animators at Children’s Hospital Colorado to create 3D printed heart models. Physicians will use the detailed models to better explain complex heart conditions to patients and their families. 

Berrien Chidsey, the lead animator working on the project, explains that holding a physical object is very helpful to patients because they don’t have to try to imagine an organ in three-dimensional space – they can see exactly how it works. Next in their ongoing collaboration, Berrien and the Inworks team will explore ways in which augmented or virtual reality might enhance patient understanding. 

Inworks Team Invents Wristband that Glows When Users are Intoxicated

Student innovators from Inworks at CU Denver teamed up to develop a wristband that glows when wearers are too drunk to drive. The wristband, which is 100 percent biodegradable, is made from bacterial cellulose and contains an enzyme that reacts with alcohol naturally excreted through the skin. They hope this will help prevent alcohol-related deaths.

Inworks + College of Architecture and Planning Students Put Their Mark on Pop-up Park

It’s not often that an undergraduate student gets to build something that thousands of people will pass through as they enter a lush and leafy reprieve from the sea of concrete. CU Denver students got to ditch the classroom in favor of turning soil, pounding nails and solving in-the-field design problems during a Maymester Design Build class. They put their creative stamp on an entire city block, installing archways that grace the entrances to a new City of Denver concept – a summer pop-up park, featuring food trucks, a dog park and music – in the Ballpark neighborhood.

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