In the last few years, the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at CMU has worked to develop and improve the spirit of creativity and tinkering. The best example of this is the ever-growing Build 18  program, which is described as:
Build18 is an annual engineering festival held by the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at Carnegie Mellon University and run by the ECE SAC and IEEE student organizations.
Build18 was founded out of the belief that the ECE curriculum is too structured – there just isn’t enough room for simply tinkering with electronics and making cool stuff. It’s meant to give ECE students time to work on self-proposed, creative projects and to promote the fun and playful aspects of engineering.
Based on my experience being part of the maker and hacker communities and my membership with HackPittsburgh, I was invited to give a kick-off presentation to inform and inspire the students taking part in the Build 18 “Build Week” in January 2013. These are my slides from that presentation.
 At CMU, each department is assigned a 2-digit number that is used as a prefix to that department’s course numbers in the course catalog; For the ECE department, our number is 18, hence the name Build 18.