5 Questions with Chad Schneider, PE, MSE, President & Founder of Root3 Labs

“5 Questions With…” is a weekly BioBuzz series where we reach out to interesting people in the BioHealth Capital Region to share a little about themselves, their work, and maybe something completely unrelated. This edition features 5 Questions Chad Schneider, PE, MSE, President & Founder of Root3 Labs.

Mr. Schneider is a mechanical design engineer with over 20 years of engineering experience in the design of complex electromechanical prototypes and products. He earned a BS in mechanical engineering with Honors from the University of Maryland, College Park, and an MSE in mechanical engineering from Johns Hopkins University with a focus on haptics and medical robotics.

In 2012, he founded Root3 Labs to focus on practical R&D for the medical device and defense industries. He is experienced working with startups, manufacturers, and State and Federal Government clients, named on 9 patents, a licensed sUAV Commercial Pilot, and a duly licensed professional engineer by the State of Maryland.

1. Tell us a little about your career path how you ended up as President of Root3 Labs, Inc.

My career influences started as an undergraduate engineering student at the University of Maryland, College Park. I had several internships that exposed me to various aspects of design, prototyping, testing, and manufacturing. I also participated in a 4-class collaborative program between the engineering and business departments (now known as QUEST) that helped incorporate business strategies, customer needs, cross-cultural experiences, and entrepreneurship into my engineering education.

After undergrad, I worked for an engineering consulting company maintaining, operating, and eventually directing test surveys of railroad tracks across the US. This kind of work expanded my breadth and depth of knowledge and the practical ability to plan ahead and keep things working with parts on-hand since I would often have to fix precision systems under a railroad car parked miles from the nearest road. I then went back to school and got a master’s degree in haptics and medical robotics at The Johns Hopkins University. Following grad school, I worked at an engineering design firm doing medical device development until 2012, when I founded Root3 Labs.

2. How would you introduce Root3 Labs Inc. to someone who has no BioHealth background?

Root3 Labs is an engineering company specializing in the research and development of electromechanical devices for the medical device and defense industries. Our expert staff of mechancial, biomedical, and electrical engineers help our customers transform ideas into prototypes and prototypes into finished products. Some examples of our work include a device to insert a feeding tube using ultrasound guidance, a smart pacifier for collecting data from infants and identifying early hearing loss, and a wearable tracking device for soldiers or first responders when GPS is not available.

3. What is a technology you’re really excited about right now?

We’ve been doing a lot of work using eTextiles recently; it’s a fascinating and growing industry. Fabrics with integrated resistive heating wires, conductive thread, or conductive ink printed directly onto fabric so you can build a circuit into the material. Add some biometric sensors or an array of vibrating actuators and you can imagine lots of applications for connecting our bodies to the digital world. I’m excited to advance these technologies and see the applications that develop around them.

4. Devices have their own unique space in this industry; how would you improve the relationship between this and traditional research and medicine?

Medical devices and traditional research or medicine are symbiotic – they support each other and work together to create better healthcare. We work with a variety of entrepreneurial scientists and medical professionals to turn their scientific breakthroughs into medical devices. Maybe it’s just an issue of perspective and we should spend more time together to gain insight into each other’s worlds.

One of our engineers has the uncommon experience of having worked for a year at the Center for Women’s Health at Mercy Medical Center assisting procedures and gathering clinical needs. Even so, we try to spend time in our client’s labs, assist in cadaver studies, experience surgical procedures, facilitate prototype testing, and witness the relationship between the products they envision and their scientific research.

5. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be and why?

Right now, I’d love to travel, and I dream of going on a sailing adventure. There’s both a simplicity and complexity to traveling by wind power. All the forces at play while being propelled through the ocean with just the sound of wind and water against the boat is appealing to me on both a personal and a professional level.

It would be great to spend a week or three cruising offshore and watching for dolphins. So, I’d like to trade places with Brian Trautman, the captain of SV Delos (and bring my wife, of course). He’s been sailing the world with his wife, Karin, and a fun-loving crew for over a decade. Watching their YouTube channel is my guilty pleasure. As an engineer himself, Brian demonstrates some of the engineering marvels aboard Delos. I think he might also enjoy hanging out at the awesome Root3 Labs workshop for a week!

Thank you to Chad Schneider for participating in the ‘5 Questions with BioBuzz’ series and stay tuned for more interviews with others from across the BioHealth Capital Region and beyond.

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