Last July Freescale Semiconductor Inc. opened a new laboratory in its Oak Hill headquarters dedicated to high-risk, high-reward experimental projects.
More than a year later, company officials shared new details about its progress.
Freescale Discovery Lab functions like an incubator or start-up business within Freescale, Lab Director David Kramer told Community Impact Newspaper.
"We wanted to take ideas from employees across the company. Maybe [these ideas] are not priorities or not part of their regular day jobs," he said. "Maybe they are good ideas but are high-risk. They may not work, but if they panned out and are achievable and could be demonstrated, they could be a game changer for the business."
An employee submits an idea for consideration. If it is accepted, the employee is reassigned to the Discovery Lab full-time until the project is complete.
More than 200 ideas were submitted to the lab, Kramer said.
Freescale officials whittled down the list by considering the ideas' scope, whether Freescale could build it into a project that could eventually be sold or licensed and what the idea could mean to Freescale and society in general, he said.
Freescale leaders did not have concrete limits for projects, but aimed for a six-month to two-year scope for development, he said.
Currently more than 20 employees are working on nine projects. Project categories include material sciences, advanced packaging and system architecture, Kramer said. Projects related to the Internet of Things—a term referring to greater interconnectivity between devices and products—and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are also in the works, according to a company statement.
Freescale plans to open a second Discovery Lab in Toulouse, France in mid-September, Kramer said.