#madeatMIDAS: I/O Design & Engineering Virtual & Augmented Reality

#madeatMIDAS and I/O Design

I/O Design & Engineering look to cutting edge technology – Virtual and Augmented Reality – to provide their clients with reliable, accurate, and realistic modeling for a variety of applications.

Far from being a technology of the future, virtual and augmented reality is increasingly being utilized in multiple industries and sectors, ranging from entertainment, communications and education to design, scientific research and engineering.

I/O Design & Engineering in Trail, BC, is a business taking advantage of virtual and augmented reality to more thoroughly provide for the needs of their clients, not to mention set themselves ahead of the pack in their corner of the market.

Modeling in 3D has been a tool for many engineers for decades. The design, construction, and use of buildings and infrastructure is one such area where 3D models have had a significant impact, bringing designs and drawings into tangible imagery and, in many cases, form. However, access to 3D models still requires that the users have the capacity to interact with the model and interpret the images that they see.

#madeatMIDAS and I/O Design. Augmented and Virtual Reality

By leveraging VR technologies, viewing scanned objects, locations, data and more in fully explorable, at-scale settings, a business such as I/O Design & Engineering is able to generate the valuable early feedback about the impact and efficacy of new designs. Something that, previously, was hard to assess from plans and renderings alone.

I/O Design’s introduction to the possibilities of this technology in their business was through their attendance to the 2017 #BCTECH Summit where the theme of that year’s event was Virtual and Augmented Reality. With the help of the $1000 grant Columbia Basin Trust makes available for Basin-based businesses to attend the annual summit, the principals made their way not only to Vancouver but inspiration.

Upon their return to Trail, owner Isaac Saban and I/O Design approached the team at MIDAS and proposed a donation of $10,000 for the Fab Lab to purchase the necessary VR/AR technologies in exchange for a one-year corporate membership.

#madeatMIDAS and I/O Designs

I/O Design & Engineering owner Isaac Saban demonstrating their AR/VR project

With the help of MIDAS instructor, Jason Taylor, who spent almost 20 hours converting 3D designs to VR/AR to see if what the company had in mind was even possible, drew on various resources and did all the vital legwork to hand the team at I/O the ball so they could run with it!

More than just a model – an experience.

To continue on Taylor’s work, I/O Design hired a summer student, Jordan Currie, to use 3D scan data rather than a solid 3D model to produce VR/AR imagery. After a couple of months, the company took the work to yet another level, hiring database programmer, Tim Cristofoli to pick up where Jordan left off.

Moving from the Lower Mainland to Trail to “play with VR”, it took Tim about three months to get up to speed and begin adding animations and colour, bringing I/O Design’s VR/AR project to life.

Given the power of providing the user to experience rather than simply view with VR/AR, short-term, the I/O Design & Engineering team expects to see their new VR/AR abilities to be used for training purposes and to allow crews to more accurately view and assess the inside of various industrial facilities.

As a result, I/O Design & Engineering offers a service that goes well beyond traditional representations such as photographs, 3D renderings, and diagrams, enabling clients to receive an entirely different perspective on a space or object in real-world proportions.

The investment I/O Design made in MIDAS while leveraging the expertise of the Fab Lab team has allowed I/O Designs to quickly evolve their use of VR/AR technology and expand their services as well as their positioning in the market.

Curious about what MIDAS can do help you accomplish? Talk to us!

Come out for a tour: Thursdays, 6-7pm.

Peruse our course calendar for valuable training and certifications.

Enjoy access to the Fab Lab! Become a member.

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake #metaltechalley

Design Thinking: A Creative Strategy for Innovation

Design Thinking for innovation

Looking for a strategy to maximize problem-solving, creativity, and innovation? Incorporate Design Thinking and see what happens!

When design principles are applied to strategy and innovation the success rate for innovation improves significantly.

Design Thinking is a human-centred, possibility driven, approach. It fundamentally draws upon what humans need – what problem needs addressing – before integrating technology and economics.

The Design Thinking methodology is a mindset. While used for problem-solving, it’s not actually problem-focused. It’s solution focused and action-oriented towards creating a preferred idea, project, product, even future. Design Thinking draws upon imagination, intuition, logic, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be – and to create a desired outcome that benefits the end user (typically the customer).

“Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.”
– Tim Brown CEO, IDEO

The inception of Design Thinking

It was computer scientist and Nobel Prize laureate Herbert A. Simon who first made mention of design as a science or way of thinking in his 1969 book, Sciences of the Artificial.

Through the 1970s, Design Thinking evolved in the design community before entering the mainstream in the 2000s. Seeing the benefits of the methodology and creative strategic process, professionals in sectors we know to be outside the realm of design –education, Information Technology, and business – also began embracing and applying Design Thinking.

The tools and methods of the approach borrow from a variety of disciplines, including ethnography, computer science, psychology, and organizational learning.

Design teams use Design Thinking to tackle ill-defined or unknown problems (referred to as wicked problems) because it reframes these types of problems in human-centric ways, allowing the designer to focus on what’s most important for users/customers. It’s been implemented to tremendous and prosperous effect in organizations such as Apple and Airbnb.

The Framework of Design Thinking

MIDAS design thinking diagram

Empathize

The first stage of the process requires an empathic understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, typically through some form of user research. Empathy is vital as it allows you to set aside your own assumptions about the world in order to gain insight into users and their needs. Entering the realm of the users and, as far as possible, “becoming” them so as to begin work on custom-designing a solution.

Define

Collect and consolidate all the information you have gathered during the Empathize stage. Analyze your observations and synthesize them in order to define the core problems you and your team have identified so far. This is where you ensure that the problem you are addressing is fully exposed and clear, all of its elements and properties identified thoroughly.

Ideate

Now you’re ready to start generating ideas. With the knowledge you have gathered in the first two phases, you can start to “think outside the box” to identify new solutions to the problem statement you’ve created, and you can start to look for alternative ways of viewing the problem.

Prototype

Your design team can now produce a number of inexpensive, scaled-down versions of the product or specific features found within the product so you can investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage.

Test

Rigorously test the completed product using the best solutions identified during the prototyping phase. This is the final stage; however, this can be an iterative process, and you’ll use the results generated during the testing phase to redefine one or more problems.

The steps in this process provide a structure for understanding and pursuing innovation in ways that contribute to organic growth, adding real value to your customers. The cycle leverages observation in order to unearth unmet needs within the context and constraints of a particular situation.

According to Jeanne Liedtka of the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business and former chief learning officer at United Technologies Corporation, value is achieved when there is an understanding of need, particularly that previously unknown, “The most secure source of new ideas that have true competitive advantage, and hence, higher margins, is customers’ unarticulated needs.”

Design Thinking brings ideas and designs to life on a circuitous journey of exploration, experimentation, and discovery. To move forward, it often involves taking several steps backward, several times… where evolution, refinement, and growth flourish!

New Years Resolutions… For Innovators!

MIDAS Fab Lab - New Years Resolutions for Innovators

Innovation is top of mind for many businesses. Simple resolutions such as saying yes, taking action no matter how small, and embracing failure could make 2019 your pivotal year!

Taking some time to contemplate the year ahead and the various resolutions you’ll make to help get you started on the right foot for the New Year? Great! But, you might want to disregard the stats: only 8% of us will actually achieve our New Year resolutions.

The most common reasons we fail in our resolve include unrealistic goals, neglecting to track progress and simply abandoning the commitment altogether.

Despite the dismal results, New Year’s resolutions can be an effective catalyst for change in our personal and family lives. Likewise for our professional lives. An impending new year encourages reflection, taking stock of successes and failures of the months past as you consider what you’d like to accomplish for the months and year ahead.

What changes would you like to see that will help your company innovate and grow? This year, whether you’re a business, startup, or entrepreneur, as you think about resolutions, consider leveraging a few different tactics to help inspire fresh innovation and vision in your work.

Say ‘yes’!

Such a powerful word!

The power of ‘yes’. A simple word with the power to influence the trajectory of any endeavour. The key to achieving any goal, innovative or otherwise, is to approach a challenge from a different mindset – with an open-minded sense of ‘yes’!

This simple word can create excitement and energy, inspiring new ideas. Saying ‘yes’ can break up the monotony; it can expand your network and opportunities. You never know, that next opportunity might be life-changing to your business or idea.

In the words of Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt: “Find a way to say yes to things. Say yes to invitations to a new country. Say yes to meeting new friends. Say yes to learning a new language, picking up a new sport. Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job. Yes is how you find your spouse and even your kids. Even if it’s a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new and make a difference in your life, and likely in others’ lives as well… Yes is a tiny word that can do big things. Say it often.”

Allow yourself to be persuaded

When it comes to developing a new product or service, growing your business, or advancing your idea you have to be prepared to hold your ground in order to push your ideas and vision forward. Equally important, however, is that you remain open to new ideas and feedback.

Al Pittampalli’s book, Persuadable, argues that successful leaders realize that a genuine willingness to change their own mind is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Developing and leading innovation requires agility and openness – releasing an ego that might get in the way of encouraging and accepting the great ideas of others.

Don’t be afraid to engage with those that disagree with you. In disagreement, rather than defending or rationalizing your approach, look for the merits in the opposing perspective and see if you can find alignment between views, or where your view might actually be tweaked and improved.

Take small, but immediate, action

It’s not unusual for businesses and organizations to be looking to the big move when it comes to ideas and innovation. But, let’s face it, those are few and far between. Most of the important milestones in the forward momentum of any business are going to be small and incremental.

Rather than planning for the major iteration, launch, or announcement it’s the simplest actions done effectively and with immediacy that have the most impact. The organizations that achieve their resolutions are laser-focused on the smaller, more specific, achievements that are integral to progress, not to mention much simpler for the team to analyze and action the results.

Embrace failure – it MUST be an option

Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on his idea, to take a calculated risk, and to act. – Maxwell Maltz

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take chances – failure will be your friend!

Failure provides us with the frightening and painful nudge we need to stop hiding behind our self-imposed limitations. As we grow to expect failure along the road to success it becomes something of a badge of honour.

Failure is an inevitable outcome of experimentation and innovation, and it’s where the most opportunties for learning, examination, and exploration is had.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations,” Said J.K. Rowling. “I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected. The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.

Focus

Successful innovators and entrepreneurs start with the end in mind. But… they’re also diligent about avoiding distractions that divert their attention.

Focus on one or only a couple of things at a time. Don’t get caught up in measuring EVERYTHING. Those who are successful incorporate the best systems to track the fewest metrics possible to achieve their goals.

Distraction is truly around every corner, so it’s important to KISS and keep your eye on the ball of the core business.

Innovate because you can, not because you must

Many businesses wait to innovate only when confronted by crisis. Innovation ought not to be treated as a singular, binary event. It has to be approached as on-going, iterative, ever-evolving, and dynamic. This is where measurable progress lives.
Develop a well thought out program that includes regularly scheduled brainstorming activities; continuous inspiration, motivation, action, and drive to ensure continued, if not increased, competitiveness.
So, innovators, enjoy a reset along with the calendar on January 1st and incorporate ways of thinking that will help foster new vision and innovation. Despite the statistics, the New Year offers a great opportunity to reflect on fresh mindsets to take on for not only the coming year but well beyond.

Looking for inspiration this New Year? MIDAS can help!

With almost $500,000 in state-of-the-art fabrication and manufacturing equipment and the expertise and knowledge of our team, the MIDAS Fab Lab offers SO many opportunities to help you innovate – your business, your product, your idea!

Come out for a tour: Thursdays, 6-7pm.

Peruse our course calendar for valuable training and certifications.

Enjoy access to the Fab Lab! Become a member.

We’re Hiring! MIDAS Community Engagement Coordinator

We're Hiring! MIDAS Community Engagement Coordinator

Work at one of the most innovative and disruptive organizations in the Kootenays! MIDAS Community Engagement Coordinator

Closing date: January 2nd, 2019 @ 4:00 pm PST

MIDAS is a digital fabrication lab in Trail, BC.  MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration & Studies), is a project of the Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (www.kast.com). MIDAS offers the best “FAB”rication equipment available in the Kootenays for public, academic and commercial use. The facility is a renovated accessible space with state of the art equipment and training including: 3D Printers, 3D scanners, CNC milling equipment, metal shop, woodworking, an electronics lab, teaching and co-working space and more. 

Working as part of a progressive, motivated team, the main responsibilities of the MIDAS Community Engagement Coordinator will be to provide support to the Director, Lab Manager and Lab staff, and to provide exceptional customer service to MIDAS members, potential members, the general public and our commercial clientele.

You will be at the front line at MIDAS, and you will be able and ready to switch tasks throughout the day to accommodate the needs of members and operational staff at the facility. That said, we’re a super fun team and MIDAS is a rewarding place to work.

Closing date: January 2nd, 2019 @ 4:00 pm PST

Primary duties:

Engagement/Communications:

  • As the first point of contact at the MIDAS lab, you will provide professional and courteous customer service by greeting and guiding guests, answering inquiries, and referring them to the appropriate staff member.
  • Ensuring website, social media, training and operations calendars are updated daily and working with our media provider to strategize social media posts.
  • Using strong time management and organizational skills, you will act as the main liaison for tours, groups and event bookings; you will be assisting in set up and hosting of courses, tours and events.

Records Management & Reporting:

  • CRM Building; you will be responsible for maintaining a database of members and potential leads, following up on leads and ensuring information is accurate.
  • Compiling accurate monthly statistics/metrics for management team and maintaining standard operating procedures and maintenance records, monitor and document lab usage.

Health & Safety:

  • Manage and assist in Health & Safety, ensuring rules and regulations are followed precisely
  • Maintain accurate health and safety records per WorkSafe BC guidelines.
  • Assist / Administer and document first aid as required (First Aid training provided if not already possessing)

Other duties as assigned.

Requirements and Qualifications:

MIDAS is looking for a creative and motivated individual with confidence, good judgement, flexibility, and a desire to learn.

You will portray professionalism and discretion while showing a sense of humour as you provide a high level of service to MIDAS lab staff, and all stakeholders.

Proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word/Excel) and Google Suite is required.

Post Secondary education is preferred, however we will consider equivalent experience.

Hours of work: The successful candidate will be willing to work flexible hours from Monday-Friday, 30 hours per week.

Hourly rate: $18-$20 depending upon experience

To apply:

Closing date: January 2nd, 2019 @ 4:00 pm PST

Please provide a resume and cover letter telling us about yourself and why you feel you are a great fit for our team.  Email info@midaslab.ca

No phone calls please.

Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST)

 

#madeatMIDAS: Pulse Labs Inc. ProFlex

Pulse Labs Pulse Proflex Kickstarter

Revelstoke’s Pulse Labs Inc. is serious about getting the right fit – and flex! – in a ski boot!

If you’ve recently been sizing ski boots, chances are you’ve encountered some unreliability when it comes to flex rating, even in boots of the same brand.

Enter Pulse Labs Inc.

With their extensive expertise and new and innovative boot fitting system they’ve come up with the answer to the flex issue with a convenient and effective aftermarket accessory: The Pulse ProFlex. Developed and prototyped with the help of the MIDAS Fab Lab!

The flex in a ski boot refers to how difficult it is to flex the boot forward. Boot flex ranges from very soft to a stiffness required for racing, indicated by a numeric “flex index” typically from 50 (soft) to 130 (very stiff). Frustratingly, for skiers of all skill levels, this number is rather arbitrary and a 100 flex rating, for example, can vary from boot to boot, even from the same manufacturer.

Check out the Pulse ProFlex Kickstarter>>

The Pulse ProFlex is a ski boot insert created specifically to stiffen almost any two-piece ski boot by 15 to 30 per cent. It’s been made to be easy to install without altering or compromising the fit of the boot.

Current bootmakers prioritize features and convenience – walk modes, tech fittings, thinner walls and lightweight plastics – over stiffness and performance. Innovator and partner in Pulse Boot Lab & Ski Co., Kai Palkeinen, was looking for more. Understanding that serious skiers have been left wanting, he saw the need for a reliable, aftermarket solution that had the power to amp up the flex and, ultimately, the performance of any ski boot.

So the ProFlex was born. With the help of our team at MIDAS!

Beginning over a year ago, the team at MIDAS, specifically Lab Director, Brad Pommen, assisted in scanning the prototype and producing 3D models to help identify the size, shape, and positioning of what would become the ProFlex. Through several iterations and many communications between Pulse Labs’ Matt Moor and Brad, fundamental challenges were identified.

MIDAS provided the opportunities and resources for learning!

The learning process not only helped refine the design and drawings that would be sent on to the engineers, but the experience also helped to answer the important question: which manufacturing process would provide the best product?

For instance, after delving deep into carbon fibre, vacuum moulding and even 3D printing at MIDAS it was established that none of these would provide the necessary rigidity or rebound for an effective insert. To achieve what the company needed, injection molds were found to be the way to go.

Through MIDAS, Kai explained, “We went from knowing nothing to gaining a far better understanding.”

Kai learned how “complicated, difficult, and expensive, not to mention arduous the manufacturing process is”. MIDAS and the Fab Lab team helped alleviate some of this stress and hard work, facilitating rapid prototyping, exploration, experimentation, and tweaking, in a fraction of the time and expense that it would have taken otherwise.

“Without MIDAS we may not have made it to the end result.”

Looking for additional stiffness and performance in your ski boots or those of a skier you love? Be sure to get the Pulse ProFlex – support the Kickstarter Campaign>>

Just in time for Christmas!

Curious about all that’s available – and possible! – at MIDAS? Join us for a tour: Thursdays at 6pm!

 

 

A Great Combination: Trail Smoke Eaters and MIDAS!

Tracy Connery Photography - MadeatMIDAS Trail Smoke Eaters

We support our local Smoke Eaters! Hockey and makers go together like glue on wood, a solder iron on metal, skates on ice!

As a proud supporter of the Trail Smoke Eaters Hockey team, KAST has donated 10 MIDAS Fab Lab gift certificates. Lucky winners receive a choice of Laser Cutter or 3D Printer Course, where they can learn, be inspired, and enjoy the opportunity to work with the best in the biz – the MIDAS Fab Lab team!

So, check out the game schedule and make sure you come on out and enjoy a fun-filled, action-packed hockey night andhave a chance to win some wonderful prizes!

If you’d like to know more about the possibilities – so many! – available here at MIDAS, please click HERE.

Still curious? Join us for our MIDAS Public Tours, every Thursday evening at 6:00 pm.

Check out the range of courses and training on offer at MIDAS (2019 schedule currently in the works – lots to come!)

Go Smoke Eaters!

#madeatMIDAS: Advanced BioCarbon 3D (ABC3D)

Advanced BioCarbon 3D #madeatMIDAS

Advanced BioCarbon 3D, #madeatMIDAS Corporate Member and co-locator here at MIDAS marries environmental sustainability and innovation with their carbon negative bioplastics.

We are very proud of the accomplishments achieved by the growing list of Corporate Members. It’s inspiring to see each of them fulfilling their innovation and business aspirations with the help of the range of resources available in our MIT-certified Fab Lab.

A fruitful partnership we’ve excitedly been witness to between ABC3D and Selkirk College Applied Research Innovation Centre and recipients of a research grant through the SMARTS Program. SMARTS engages in research resulting in the development of innovative products or services, with the goal of expanding the offerings that local businesses can bring to market.

Earlier this year, Rossland’s Darrel Fry, CEO of Advanced BioCarbon 3D, and Jason Taylor of Selkirk College were awarded $300,000 through the Innovate BC Ignite Program to develop a new type of 3D-printing filament. The research project is focused on creating a new 3D printing filament to address the pressing issue of excessive plastics in 3D printing and manufacturing.

The $300,000 awarded to the project has allowed ABC3D to buy equipment and bring on employees integral to the continuing research and development.

The filament is made from 100% biodegradable, engineering grade plastics and carbon fibre derived from lignin, the natural glue-like fibres found inside of wood.

#MadeatMIDAS_Advance BioCarbon 3D

Well beyond plastic: carbon fibre. Engineering grade AND biodegradable.

ABC3D is an advanced materials company specializing in bi0degradable plastics and carbon fibres and has taken up residence in the MIDAS Fab Lab to expand its research, development, and production.

Looking to come up with a solution for the over-abundance of plastics used, and inevitably, polluting the earth on such an incredible scale, Advanced BioCarbon 3D creates a product that is, remarkably, engineering grade and 100% biodegradable.

Safe for people, animals, and nature, the ABC3D plastics and carbon fibre are created using a closed loop system with no waste. The innovative startup’s beachhead into the industry is biodegradable filaments, in production at MIDAS, extracting resins from wood and mixing them with other polymers to make plastic.

#MadeatMIDAS_Advance BioCarbon 3D

The goal of the business is all at once ambitious and noble. According to Mr. Fry, “We’ve been coming it at it through demand management, trying to promote less use, re-use, recycling and the like. As we all know of course trying to plug the pipe at the end never truly works. Moving to a supply management where rather than using less plastic we aim to use better plastic would seem to be a better route.”

While ABC3D is producing products in the 3D printing filament market, with their engineered grade quality bioplastics, previously unavailable, the company is seeing the huge potential to impact other markets. Specifically, Fry has his eye fixed on carbon fibre filaments to be used in industries such as automotive, airline, solar energy, housebuilding, batteries, and more.

“I don’t see how we can continue down the path of conventional plastics,” said Fry. “The planet can no longer sustain the amount of plastic being put into the oceans and across our landscape, nor can it sustain the carbon emissions from petroleum products. Everyone knows we need to take action.

“Nature has been making (natural plastic) for three billion years, and disposing of it for three billion years. Nature already has in place the bacteria and decomposition team it needs to break down plastic that is made from wood.”

Employee Ian, developing skills and getting the valuable training he needs to further his own professional development with the help of Advanced BioCarbon 3D.ABC3D has taken advantage of other funding opportunities to help develop his innovative products. Through the NRC Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) Youth Employment Program (YEP) and Youth-Green Program, on behalf of the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment Strategy (YES), the company has hired Ian, who is learning the R and D ropes; developing skills and getting the valuable training he needs to further his own professional development with the help of Advanced BioCarbon 3D.

Fry’s route to sustainability has begun with a blended 3D filament containing 40% of their proprietary wood product and 60% conventional plastic. The goal: subsequent iterations that lead to a truly environmentally sustainable 100% wood bioplastic.

#madeatMIDAS #metaltechalley

Listen to the rest of this amazing story HERE.

SMARTS Program: Selkirk SME Applied Research and Technology Solutions

SME Applied Research & Technology Solutions (SMARTS) Program

The SMARTS Program: Connecting small- and medium-sized businesses with research expertise in the fields of geospatial technology and digital fabrication. 

It’s those companies that invite innovation and embrace technology that are leading today’s competitive economy.

Selkirk College, a hidden academic gem here in the West Kootenay steps in to help, offering specific and much-needed applied research support to help businesses develop new or improved products and services.

The SMARTS program builds on the Adopting Digital Technologies program, a success story featured by the National Research Council, which provided small- and medium-sized businesses with direct support, technical training, and advisory services aimed at increasing productivity through the use of digital technologies.

Support for Development of Products and Services

The SMARTS program aims to engage in research that results in the development of innovative products or services, expanding the offerings, that local businesses can bring to market.

Businesses may be eligible for the SMARTS program if they:

  • Have less than 500 employees
  • Are growth-oriented
  • Are located in Canada

Selkirk College knows that research and development partnerships that involve marketable products or services require strict confidentiality. Businesses can rest assured that the College maintains confidentiality protocols to protect the interests of both the business and the College. Selkirk College also understands the need to complete work in ‘business time’ and will work with business to move the idea to action efficiently and effectively.

Do you have a project idea that you want to explore with the SMARTS team? Want to discuss your expertise and funding needs? Find out more!

A Sample of R&D Services

Geospatial Technologies

WEB MAPPING
– Developing custom mapping platforms for data sharing and communications

3D VISUALIZATIONS
– Generating static and dynamic visualisations of 3D geospatial data – Developing augmented reality and virtual reality applications

REMOTE SENSING
– Collecting data via UAV
– Testing sensors
– Analysing remotely sensed data from UAV or satellite – Developing workflows and algorithms

SPATIAL MODELING
– Modeling landscape impacts of environmental change

APP DEVELOPMENT AND CUSTOMIZATION
– Building customized mobile tools for geospatial data collection and sharing – Researching and testing technology options

Digital Fabrication

RAPID PROTOTYPING
– Producing prototypes
– Researching and testing prototype designs and materials

3D MODELING
– Scanning 3D objects for reproduction
– Generating 3D models for analysis and production

ADVANCED MANUFACTURING PROCESS OPTIMIZATION
– Building custom digital fabrication equipment
– Improving productivity with new workflows and equipment configurations

Funding Available for a Limited Time

The SMARTS program runs until March 2019 and is supported by the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). As a result of this support, funding is available to cover the majority of the research costs associated with approved projects. The company also contributes a portion of project expenses.

Do you have a project idea that you want to explore with the SMARTS team? Want to discuss your expertise and funding needs? Find out more!

MIDAS – Leading the Regional Maker Community

MIDAS Fab Lab is an integral leader in the Maker culture and community in the region: industry, startups, creatives, students – everyone welcome!

#madeatMIDAS MIDAS Fab Lab

If you’re looking for inspiration with regards to your existing business, the innovative idea you’ve been nurturing, or simply about the future of technology and innovation in the region and beyond, spend a couple of hours here in the MIDAS Fab Lab.

Step inside the doors and you’ll be welcomed by our exceptional team, either exuberant Fab Lab Director – “Mr. Technology” – and innovative entrepreneur in his own right, Brad Pommen or the more reserved but no less enthusiastic or inspiring MIDAS Lab Assistant, Shawn Curran, or both.

State-of-the-art Inspiration, Learning, Fabrication

MIDAS Fab Lab

The MIDAS (Metallurgical Industrial Development Acceleration Studies) Fabrication Lab is a multimillion-dollar technology hub offering our members the education, training, and skills required to operate advanced fabrication and manufacturing equipment such as 3D scanners and printers, laser cutters and CNC milling equipment.

The resources at MIDAS – skilled and knowledgeable team, courses, half a million dollars in state-of-the-art equipment – are available to aspiring and advanced learners and makers of all levels of expertise.

Every day creative innovators throughout the region explore the range of rapid prototyping and fabrication possibilities at MIDAS to advance their own aspirations and goals to expand their business and develop new products and services. Without MIDAS Fab Lab the limitations of developing new innovations and products could be so labour, time, and costs prohibitive as to stop an idea in its tracks.

Turning Ideas into Gold! Take Advantage of our Range of Exceptional Courses & Training to help Bring your Idea to Life!

MIDAS equipment is most often used for rapid prototyping and training in additive manufacturing, building 3D objects by adding layer upon layer of material, such as plastic, metal, wood, and even concrete. 

Our users are able to quickly create a 3D model of an item (using a remarkable 3D scanning device) to create, in some cases, industrial grade prototypes – mechanical parts, for instance – using 3D computer-aided design and a 3D printer.

It doesn’t end with 3D printing, however. Electronics, circuit construction, CNC machines, moulding, casting, metalwork and woodwork are also available.

Since the inception of our MIT-certified Fabrication Lab in the fall of 2016, over 1,000 people from all walks of life, from laymen to startups to industry, have been introduced to not only the potential of MIDAS but their own as well.

Curious and want to learn more? We host weekly tours Thursdays from 6-7pm. Join us!

#LearnCreateLaunch #madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Fun Friday! DIY Foam Paddle Board

We are near mid-summer and the weather has been nothing short of glorious! And, with all of this sublime weather, no doubt everyone has been enjoying their local waterhole, river, or lake with their favourite watercraft.

Fun Friday! DIY standup paddle board

Looking for a Standup Paddle Board Without the Steep Price Tag?

If you’ve been coveting the rash of standup paddle board (SUP) activity but purchasing one isn’t in your summer budget, the innovative folks over at instructables are offering the perfect DIY alternative.

While the cost of a SUP has certainly come down over the past few years, it’s still a rather grand sum to pay for some hollow plastic.  But, with a little initiative, a few tools, and some good ol’ fashioned elbow grease here’s a way for you to relax on the water with unique hand-crafted style and a totally do-able price tag – guaranteed to be one-of-a-kind!

Here’s What You Need (costs are approximate):

A sheet rigid foam insulation 2″ thick ($25).  This may even be something you or a DIY neighbour already has on hand, so the price may be even lower!

Insulation saw ($12).

Two large tubes of construction adhesive ($6).

A fine notch plastic trowel ($1.50).

A wood rasp ($6.50).

Orbital sander.

An optional 1/4″ sheet of plywood ($20).

Heavy items – sandbags, cinder blocks, bricks, etc. – to help set the glue.

The total cost (cash money, that is) is only about $50, possibly less if you’re able to source from your own garage, or those of your friends and family. The real cost for this project is your time and energy.

DIY Standup Paddle Board

Building Instructions:

1. Lay out the paddle board shape on heavy paper or stretches of cardboard. If you’ve got a model to use that’s ideal, but most online retailers’ product descriptions provide the dimensions you need. Prepare for this to take some time – it’s worth it!

There will be additional time tracing and retracing if you’re incorporating the plywood deck surface.  In this example, the SUP is kid-sized: 4″ thick and 24″ wide. If you want to make a 12 footer you’ll need more foam.  Note: the wood deck does make for a more slick surface, the bare foam actually provides some grip.

2. Glue the foam together.

3. The board ought not be left flat. There should be a rocker of a few degrees on both ends.
Trace out the curve of the nose rocker onto the profile and sculpt with a long razor.
Once the shape is roughed out use the wood rasp to remove the rest and to make the curves more hydrodynamic. FYI:  working with the foam is messy!  It’s recommended that you set up some means of dust collection (ie. ShopVac on hand!).

Finish the smoothing with an orbital sander, stepping down the grits.

4. To make the plywood impermeable to water, it needs to be prepared with polyurethane on both sides. After sanding the edges and top of the deck board, apply four coats of poly, sanding the top side between coats. Don’t worry about the underside as it will be glued to the foam. Once it’s dry, and before securing with glue to the SUP, test the placement of the deck. Lightly trace the outline of the deck so that you know where to spread the adhesive. Coat both the foam and the underside of the deck with your adhesive. Place the deck with care and press the two parts together and leave overnight under pressure.

There you have it! Don’t forget, you can apply laser cut vinyl, or paint designs, to customize your unique DIY board. If you’d like more photos and far more detail into the construction of the handmade SUP, check it out HERE!

BTW, if you’re new to DIY for projects like this, check out the MIDAS course calendar for all kinds of education and training into the kinds of equipment and design software that make creating these kinds of projects just that much easier.

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