Microdrones, makerspaces and musical instruments controlled by motion sensors: yes, this is the future of manufacturing! On October 7, more than 125 high school and college students gathered at Skyline College in San Bruno, Calif., to celebrate National Manufacturing Day (#MFGDay) and explore related opportunities in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math).

Modern manufacturing, it turns out, it much more exciting than you might think. If you missed the day, here’s what we explored….

Process of Innovation

Because creativity is central to manufacturing, visitors kicked off the day with a lecture on the process of innovation from Terri Wade, director of the Bay Area Entrepreneur Center and an Adjunct Faculty, Base11 Instructor for STEM Entrepreneur program at Skyline College.

Terri Wade

Then, students broke into groups to get their own hands on experiences through four breakout sessions that included, robotics, music and more.


Students explored the future of robotics by flying microdrones, which are remote-controlled aircraft that fit into the palm of your hand.


Engineering and Music

Nick Langhoff, professor of science, math and technology at Skyline College, showed students how to use motion-sensors connected to a circuit board that control music pitch in different instruments.

Nick Langhoff


Guests toured the college’s recently opened Fab Lab, a type of makerspace that originated at MIT. The Fab Lab includes 3D printers, laser cutters, and lots of other equipment that enables students to design and build almost anything they can imagine.

In the Fab Lab, Marco Wehrfritz demonstrated a Parallax Boe-Bot with an Arduino micro-controller, which is a robot that Skyline students use to learn programming. In the Fab Lab, students can make circuit board for the micro-controllers with a wide variety of applications.

Marco Wehrfritz

NextGen Innovators

Of course, the future of innovation is in the hands of today’s students. So visitors met with fellow Skyline College students who have completed a Base 11 fellowship program, like Daniel Powers, who shared examples of engineering projects that Skyline students have worked on in the Honors Project Showcase breakout session.

Daniel Powers

“Manufacturing Day is all about inspiring the next generation of innovators, which is exactly what we want to do at Base 11,” said Landon Taylor, CEO of Base 11.

To see more from MFG Day, view our Facebook Album: MFG Day at Skyline College.