Polytechnic students combine computers, desks to reinvent workspace

For most, space is considered the final frontier; but for a group of ASU students, it's a desk — one that is revolutionizing the definition of a desktop computer.

The group is, more specifically, a student-run company — M33 Labs — and they're dedicated to building products that can complement a human's creative nature. They're doing it in the tech workshops of ASU's Polytechnic campus.

One of those products is Space, a modern-day desktop computer. 

Space is an all-in-one solution to the modern problem of a messy workspace. It's a mobile desk that showcases a touch screen monitor that eliminates unnecessary wires.

The company's CEO, technological entrepreneurship junior Brandon Smith, said the concept came to be a year and a half ago on a plane ride from Michigan to Arizona. 

“The problem is that workspaces are very messy and cluttered, they didn’t really inherently enable the user anymore, and they are still very relevant," Smith said. "What Space really is at its core is an all-in-one solution." 

Smith said he had the idea, but it wasn't until he arrived at ASU that he was able to implement his ideas and build Space.

“One of the things that we really love about the Polytechnic campus more than anything is that we have a broad set of skill sets available to us, and a broad set of tools,” Smith said. “If it weren’t for ASU's free tech shops we probably wouldn’t be as far as we are now.”

ASU's free tech shop houses million-dollar equipment which make products like Space feasible.

Smith not only credits the University with the free tech shops but also the relationships he made within the school that has help him form a diverse company.

“Every member of our team comes from a completely different background, a completely different culture,” Smith said.

The team includes elementary education junior Kaytlyn St. Yves, who is M33 Labs' special events and public relations specialist.

St. Yves studies at Mary Lou Fulton's Teachers College and said a weekend party four months ago changed the direction of her career. 

“It's actually a really funny story,” St. Yves said. “I show up to this party, and I was introduced to Brandon, and I told him about an idea that my students could use.”

St. Yves then went over to Smith's house to see Space, and it was then that St. Yves jumped on board to the M33 Labs team.

“Since then, I have grown into the person I am today where I am thinking, ‘We have to get this done, and we have to show people what this is about,'” St. Yves said.

The next move M33 Labs was to find designers, but ASU visual communications junior Alexandria Berg wasn’t sold on the idea right away.

It took actually seeing Space before Berg finally decided to join. 

Smith has self-financed the product since day one, and is expecting to launch to the public in Spring of 2017.

“Every dime I have spent on this project has been well worth it,” Smith said. “For me, it's all about beauty, money is only an object or a number, art is the end result of putting your money where your mouth is.”

Related links:

Startup Village: An entrepreneurial residential community on ASU's Polytechnic campus

Innovative students at ASU create new app

Reach the reporter at dcaltabi@asu.edu or follow @davidcaltabiano on Twitter.

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