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Richard Reis, Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing: (650) 725-0919,

Relevant Web URLs:
“How Everyday Things Are Made” website
Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing:

New website explores the making of candy, cars, computers and more

A new Stanford website, "How Everyday Things Are Made" (, takes a look at the manufacturing process for products including candy, clothes, airplanes and steel. The site, an online educational experience targeted to the general public, will give non-engineers a window into manufacturing technology. Stanford's Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing (AIM) funded the site, which was designed and produced by Design4X Inc. of Oakland, Calif., an education and information resource for engineers.

"Even with current advances in telecommunications, computer software and commercial electronics, manufacturing will remain the principal means by which wealth is created," says Rick Reis, executive director of AIM, a cooperative venture among Stanford's Graduate School of Business, School of Engineering and industrial member firms, many of which provided video for the new website. "However, the number of students interested in studying science and engineering continues to decrease. This project is an excellent way of building a larger manufacturing community by inspiring future engineers."

Says Design 4X founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Martin: "The manufacturing world is an incredibly interesting place. Once people have seen a worker form glowing steel into a car engine or watched the complexity behind the making of an item such as a jelly bean, they want to learn more. Stanford University and Design4X are giving people that opportunity. By capturing their interest with videos and fascinating facts, we will encourage more students to pursue a career in the field." Martin holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Stanford and is an alumnus of the Future Professors of Manufacturing program administered by AIM.

The site is quickly gaining popularity -- it's currently ranked number two on the Google search list for "manufacturing videos." Specially designed modules called "Think About It" and "Apply It" enable teachers to incorporate the material into middle school and high school curricula. And manufacturing companies can use the site as part of their orientation for new employees who have not previously worked in the industry.

But Martin promises that the site will be fun for just about anyone who is curious about how products are made. "We believe the way to get kids and others interested in the topic is to point out the fascinating aspects of manufacturing. Once we show people how steel can be cut with water or how chocolate is made, they're hooked and dive deeper into the topic."


By Dawn Levy

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