Economic Development in the Houston Bay Area
 
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Pumps and Pipes



In 2012, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership invited Dr. Alan Lumsden, medical director of the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center at the Methodist Hospital, to address regional leaders about Pumps & Pipes. Pumps & Pipes is a unique collaborative between Houston’s medical, oil & gas, and aerospace industries and was formed to solve technical problems commonly found between these industries, to develop common solutions that can be applied to product development, and to explore crossover ideas and technologies with the potential to revolutionize key sectors of the local economy.


In June 2012, BAHEP members visited the Heart & Vascular Center to learn more about Pumps & Pipes and to tour the facility, which included viewing a live open heart surgery.  As a result, the Pumps & Pipes organization invited Houston’s aerospace industry to join this collaborative effort.

The concept behind Pumps & Pipes is to work with people who do similar, but fundamentally different, research and operational procedures and to collaborate with people between these industries who will approach problems and challenges from completely different concepts and frames of reference.  In doing so, solutions may be found that normally are not a part of an industry’s solution space.  This is the concept of looking into someone else’s toolkit for the solution to a problem – someone who will have completely different concepts in how to address a problem.

For the past several years, The medical and oil & gas industries have collaborated through Pumps & Pipes to help one another solve technical problems and develop such products as the Heart Flow Simulator, a computer interface that runs a heartbeat simulator, which doctors now use to test heart valves; and an MRI machine used to visualize fluid flow through an oil & gas gravel pack.





Today, the aerospace industry has joined the Pumps & Pipes collaboration and will bring research and expertise in such areas as bone loss, muscle atrophy, next generation robotics, vibration isolation systems, and micro-video displays and miniaturized cameras, as well as expertise in operating in extreme environments.

The Pumps & Pipes collaboration, which now includes Houston’s aerospace community, should pay dividends to the Houston region as innovative product designs and business initiatives are created and new revenue streams are generated for those organizations participating in this very unique, very Houston, collaboration.

At "Pumps & Pipes 6: Opportunity Now,” the collaborative’s sixth annual conference, which included Houston’s aerospace community for the first time, an opening video produced by Jacobs introduced in grand fashion the innovation and collaboration initiatives between NASA Johnson Space Center, Exxon Mobil and Methodist Research Institute. 

Pipes & Pipes has generated a considerable amount of interest in the community surrounding NASA JSC, as well. Bay Area Houston’s Change Magazine featured the article "Pumps & Pipes benefit from one another's toolkits" in its February 2013 issue.

A highly successful "Pumps & Pipes 8: Ideas to Insight" was held December 8, 2014. Click here for up-to-date information about the exciting Pumps & Pipes initiative.


  

 
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