Şeker lab develops serious games to teach microfabrication

Interface of Photolithography game developed by UC Davis researchers, showing 3D model of micro-electro-mechanical system in center and various action buttons on the right- and left-hand sides.

With the support of a special grant from CITRIS at UC Davis, UC Davis electrical and computer engineering professor Erkin Şeker and his team are developing a series of video games to train students in semiconductor manufacturing and microfabrication. Incorporating a three-dimensional lab and level-based lessons, students will be able to learn cleanroom protocol and build semiconductors and micro-electro-mechanical systems, all within a virtual space.

In 2022, the CHIPS and Science Act authorized a $50 billion investment in semiconductor production and research, heralding a need for accessible training in microfabrication technology. With the advent of game-based pedagogy, Şeker’s games are among the first of their kind for teaching semiconductor manufacturing techniques, and he hopes they will provide a scalable platform to support the growing workforce.

Saif Islam, director of CITRIS at UC Davis and professor of electrical and computer engineering, expressed considerable enthusiasm about the project.

“This fall quarter, we will utilize the educational games Erkin’s lab developed as a teaching tool for microfabrication in course EEC146A. … I am excited to incorporate this innovative project into our curriculum,” he said.