Cambridge, MASS. — George A. Chidi Jr. reports that Kendall Square office space rents for at least $25 per square foot in Cambridge, Mass., and the cost for new building space is far greater. One Cambridge Center is a prime address – right above the subway station and across the street from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Clearly, Compaq thought the cost of locating its new 41,000-square-foot Cambridge Research Laboratory (CRL) at One Cambridge Center was well worth the money.
“Every summer, we have 30 or so interns working here, and yes, some of them are from MIT,” said Andy Christian, a researcher at the new facility. For talented students with a sport-utility vehicle future who live in a subway-pass present, the lab’s easily accessible location serves as a strong recruiting tool, he added.
Compaq officially opened the lab last week, demonstrating current research projects and discussing the future of information technology to a small group of reporters, investors and fellow researchers.
“Our vision is for pervasive computing,” said Shane Robison, senior vice president and chief technology officer for Compaq. “We’re transitioning from a stage of relative infancy on the Internet to adolescence” where people will routinely expect information to be available and scalable everywhere, he added.
To that end, most of the projects demonstrated Wednesday focused on the edge of the network – infogadgets for consumers to use, rather than servers or routers. Devices like an all-in-one PDA/MP3 player/digital camera earned mention by administrators, as did work on improved head-up displays to give motorists directions.
“Driving around in Boston… is suicide if you have to take your eyes off the road to look at a map,” said Richard Zippel, the lab’s director.
The CRL has about 30 more-or-less pure researchers, supported by engineering and business development staff. It’s one of three Compaq research labs; the other two are located in Palo Alto. The new facility includes a hardware laboratory, an industrial design laboratory, an auditorium with large projection screens for multimedia lectures and conference rooms with videoconferencing and production capabilities.