SMARTS Program – Call for Proposals | Deadline March 2019

Selkirk College’s SMARTS Program invites small and medium-sized businesses to submit proposals for technology-oriented research and development projects.

Background

The Selkirk-SME Applied Research and Technology Solutions (SMARTS) Program connects businesses with Selkirk College faculty and student expertise in the fields of geospatial technology and digital fabrication.

It aims to help small- and medium-sized enterprises use advanced technologies to develop new or improved products and services.

The Program is supported by the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP). As a result of this support, financial assistance is available to cover a portion of research costs associated with successful proposals.

Proposal Requirements

Proposed projects should make use of Selkirk College research expertise in a way that helps the applicant develop new or improved products, services, or business processes that are anticipated to drive the growth of the enterprise. Projects should be experimental or innovative in nature.

Potential applicants are encouraged to contact the SMARTS team in advance of the proposal deadline to confirm their eligibility, discuss their project idea and its fit with Selkirk College researcher expertise, and get help to scope a proposal. See the ‘How to Apply’ section for contact information.

Project examples

SMARTS researchers have broad expertise in the fields of geospatial technologies and digital fabrication. Past SMARTS projects have involved the following R&D services:

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)

Geospatial Technologies

  • Web Mapping (developing innovative mapping platforms for data sharing and communications)
  • 3D Visualizations (generating static and dynamic visualizations of 3D geospatial data, developing augmented reality and virtual reality applications)
  • Remote Sensing and Unmanned Aerial Systems (collecting data via UAV, testing sensors, analyzing 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)

If you have a technology-focused project idea that does not fit in the categories or digital fabrication orf geomatics, contact the SMARTS project team to discuss options. Faculty from other fields such as engineering, health and natural resources may also be available to provide research services depending on your project needs.

Eligible Applicants

The program is open to small- or medium-sized enterprises (up to 500 employees) in Canada. Businesses must be growth-oriented.

Application deadline

Submissions are accepted on a continuous basis. The SMARTS programs ends in March 2019.

Available Funding & Eligible Expenses

The SMARTS program provides up to $5000 per project in research funding and proponents are required to contribute at least 25% of project costs. Projects with a larger budget may be proposed with the understanding that costs over the $5000 contribution will be the company’s responsibility.

Apply Now

Read more about the SMARTS Program. Please contact the SMARTS Program facilitator, Lauren Rethoret, for the application form and to discuss your project idea.

#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

#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!

#madeatMIDAS: i4C Innovation & Blockchain

MadeatMIDAS i4C Innovation blockchain

Gustavo Nobrega and Alvaro Aragon of i4C Innovation.

Local innovation hub, i4C Innovation, looking to MIDAS for affordable and rapid prototyping to develop ideas and disruptive innovations.

Earlier this fall, the team of i4C, specifically Gustavo Nobrega and Alvaro Aragon, initiated a map to present the concept of the distributed network, or blockchain, amongst operations for regional resource industry giant Teck.

When considering ways to best illustrate simply the international network of Teck operations and the foundational concept of blockchain: no one point of failure; where even if one point of operations goes offline, the data is still being safely and securely collected by the remaining points of the network.

MadeatMIDAS i4C Innovation blockchainEmploying all the benefits of their Commercial Membership, i4C integrated a variety of MIDAS resources, including the expertise of the Fab Lab team and the equipment available to explore the options, creating several iterations to come up with their final product: an interactive, exploratory, map.

3D printing and laser cutting machines, as well as the corresponding design software, laid the foundation for completion of the project.

For those unaware, blockchain is the brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity is still unknown. In 2008 he released the whitepaper Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System introducing us to a “purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash” known as Bitcoin, providing blockchain technology with its public debut.

Blockchain, the technology that runs Bitcoin, has developed over the last decade into one of today’s biggest ground-breaking technologies with the potential to impact every industry from financial to manufacturing to educational institutions.

Gustavo Nobrega of Levare Research and i4C are jumping into the blockchain game, embracing this still very new, emerging sector and positioning themselves as players in a field that is sure to provide increasing opportunities regionally and across sectors, particularly when it comes to data.

Nobrega began with a simple 3D Printing course to produce the first of what would be four versions of the presentation project. Enthusiastic about the experience at MIDAS, one that provided him with the utmost in knowledge and expertise, he is on track to use the membership for several more projects.

 

Building a Culture of Innovation

Insights from Greg Brouwer, General Manager, Technology and Innovation

Building a Culture of Innovation Insights from Greg Brouwer, General Manager, Technology and Innovation

In January of this year, Greg Brouwer was appointed General Manager, Technology and Innovation, responsible for advancing Teck’s innovation and technology activities and strategy.

In addition to managing that pipeline of activities, Greg and his team are also doing an internal and external scan of ways we can evolve and strengthen our culture of innovation.

Here, Greg shares some observations on what that scan has unearthed and the opportunities that have been revealed.

On Harnessing Energy and Excitement…

“There’s a lot of buzz and excitement in the innovation and technology space, so near-term, one of our focus areas is how to harness that energy and excitement and derive value in the most efficient and effective way.”

“An important part of that is looking at how we can embed a culture of innovation at Teck, which means each of us feeling a responsibility to innovate and also having the mechanisms in place to share ideas.”

“This can be a challenge; how do you unleash the energy in a workforce of 10,000+ and manage that properly so that we’re evaluating ideas efficiently, always with a view of driving real and material value.”

“To help improve that process, we’re doing some benchmarking work to see how other companies have done this really well, and we’re also looking internally, getting feedback from a cross section of business and functional units, to get their views on ways we can effectively harness this energy and drive Teck’s culture of innovation forward.”

On Being Ready for Change…

“A lot of our workforce is very comfortable using powerful technology in their day-to-day lives—it’s actually quite amazing; the mobile phones we carry in our pockets today are millions of times more powerful than the computing technologies NASA used to first land humans on the moon in 1969.”

“At the same time, the cost of those powerful technologies has decreased dramatically.”

“Together, this makes it much easier, and an opportune time, to bring new technologies to Teck and leverage the benefits; we’re excited to see where that will take us over the coming years.”

On Opportunities and the Digital Technology Supercluster…

“Teck’s involvement in Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster has great potential to involve our employees in exciting innovation projects in a completely new way, and also to pilot groundbreaking technology at
Teck sites.”

“As a founding member of the Digital Technology Supercluster, Teck is operating in an ecosystem that’s very different than groups we normally interact with; from start-ups to medium-size tech companies, we’ll have tremendous opportunities to work closely with other companies, non-profits and academia on really big, ambitious goals that have the potential to fundamentally change mining and other industries, in really positive ways.”

Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative

Canada’s Innovation Superclusters Initiative

Announced in February of this year, Teck is a founding member of the Digital Technology Supercluster, one of five Superclusters formed by the Government of Canada as part of their Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

Through the initiative, the Government of Canada is investing up to $950 million—to be matched by the private sector—to support business-led innovation superclusters through high-value, strategic investments with the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth. It’s projected that over the next 10 years, the initiative will generate 50,000 jobs and grow Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) by $50 billion.

The Digital Technology Supercluster is based in B.C. and will advance projects that are guided by defined industry needs. The chosen projects will advance solutions using virtual, mixed and augmented reality, data analytics and quantum computing, to help solve some of the most pressing productivity, health and sustainability challenges facing Canada and the world today.

Originally posted at Teck’s Connect.

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Fun Friday! Learn Something Cool: 3D Design & Printing with TinkerCad

3D Printing Made With TinkerCad_2

If you’re looking for a terrific opportunity to learn the basics of 3D Design, this course is for you!

Using TinkerCad from Autodesk, a powerful and intuitive design program, this course will give you the tools you need to get you started in 3D Design.  Through the power of TinkerCad you can quickly turn your idea into a CAD model for a 3D printer.  

You don’t need to know CAD to make and 3D print awesome 3D models

Tinkercad is a simple, online 3D design and 3D printing app for everyone.  An easy, browser-based 3D design and modeling tool, Tinkercad allows users to imagine anything and then design it in minutes.  It’s used by designers, hobbyists, teachers, and kids, to make prototypes, home decor, toys, Minecraft models, jewelry – the list is really quite endless!

This course will give starting tools and tips in 3D Design with TinkerCad from Autodesk, a powerful but intuitive to learn design program. Also, how to 3D Print these designs is instructed in this dual class!

TinkerCad SO easy to use!

3D Design & Printing with TinkerCad - MIDAS training

Shapes are the basic building blocks of Tinkercad. Any shape can add or remove material, and you can also import or create your own shapes.

By grouping together a set of shapes you can create new models to work with. Build intricate shapes and create extremely detailed models.

Create vector shapes, then import and extrude them into 3D models.

The possibilities are endless once you learn these fundamentals to 3D Design Printing.  Register NOW to get the fabrication skills you need to bring your idea to life!

Course date:  July 23, 3018.

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Metallurgy & Economic Diversification

Metallurgy and innovation changing the economic development landscape in the Koots

Trail, BC:  small, sunny and scenically situated along the banks of the mighty Columbia River, has long been known as the quintessential, one industry town.  Anchoring the regional economy, mining giant, Teck, has loomed above the river and this small but quaint city, employing hundreds, for generations.

Teck Resources Ltd. has owned and operated the smelter in Trail for over 100 years, producing zinc, lead, silver and a vast array of other metal and chemical products. Teck has invested over $1.5 billion over the last 20 years including in significant environmental improvements in emissions (air quality, dust reduction, effluent quality), recycling zinc and lead, and land and water remediation.

As one of the world’s largest fully integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining complexes, Teck also produces a wide variety of precious and specialty metals, chemicals and fertilizer products. Teck Resources Ltd.’s Applied Research and Technology (ART) group employs research engineers, scientists and management staff.

A strong network of high-performing service businesses are linked to the region’s metallurgical sector, providing opportunities in engineering, environmental services, safety, construction, transportation, fabrication and recycling, and entrepreneurial opportunities to value-add and spin off manufacturing and technology businesses utilizing downstream non-core smelter by-products.

After more than a century of hosting one of the world’s largest lead-zinc integrated smelters, the region surrounding Trail is a hotbed of metallurgical expertise and industrial activity ranging from scientific, environmental and engineering consulting, to electronics recycling, to purifying smelter byproducts to produce materials for the semiconductor industry and other thermal applications.

What is metallurgy?

Metallurgy is “the science and study of the behaviors and properties of metals and their extraction from their ores.” – Practical Metallurgy and Materials of Industry.

Almost every aspect of our present-day existence is reliant on metals. Vast quantities of steels, aluminum, titanium, copper, and nickel alloys are used for automobiles, ships, aircraft, spacecraft, bridges, and buildings as well as the machines required to produce them. Electricity is almost entirely dependent of copper and aluminum. All around us we see the utilization of aluminum, copper, and steels, often in new applications combining metals with plastics and fiber-reinforced composite materials. Some metals such as titanium and zirconium – impossible to smelt or extract from ores just a few years ago – are now used in large quantities and referred to as space-age metals. There are also hundreds of combinations of metals and nonmetals called composites, along with many new tool steels.

Metallurgy pertains to the materials science, welding, machine shop, quality control, and industrial technology industries, each of which share equal responsibility for the design, development and implementation of metals and materials processing in industry today.

When parts fail, it is up to the metallurgist to find the cause of failure through failure analysis. Metal parts often require a specific strength, priligy precio, through heat treatments and microhardness testing to ensure the level of strength is achieved.

Metallurgy plays a role in the production of metals, from extracting from ores to the casting of metals. Every step of the way, from ore to its final form, metallurgists can study the behavior and properties of the metal(s) and offer their experience, advice and guidance towards making a better product.

Potential behind industrial innovation, academia and metallurgical sector

MIDAS is a public-private enterprise initiated by KAST, a non-profit regional economic development organization, and Fenix Advanced Materials, a private company with substantive experience in commercialization of metallurgical industry by-products. This partnership aims to leverage the region’s technical talent, commercialize new products and technologies through applied research and a value-add approach to smelter byproducts, and diversify the local economy.

Innovative businesses and startups need applied R&D (research and development) support to bring new ideas to life. Academic institutions need “real world” experience for their students (4th year undergraduates to PhD technical and business students).  Selkirk College and College of the Rockies offer trades and technical operations programs that support the mining and metallurgy sector.

Through MIDAS matchmaking, entrepreneurs can access mad brains: students, faculty, PhD candidates (and their labs) at highly subsidized rates to complete research and product development. This saves money and adds incredible growth potential to companies.

MIDAS believes industrial innovation and metallurgical sector spin-offs can create high quality, knowledge-driven jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities to be mined.

Want to know more?  Read the recent report describing findings from the Training and Skills Development survey of 40 businesses from across the West Kootenay region of BC, involved in the metallurgical and advanced manufacturing sectors specifically. These surveys were conducted in the fall and winter of 2016/2017.

This survey research is part of a project that aims to identify regional and sector-specific workforce development training needs in the metallurgical and advanced manufacturing sectors in the rural West Kootenay region of BC. Specifically, this project will identify and begin to address the technical and business skills training gaps relating to new technology and additive manufacturing.

Capital investment in MIDAS for metallurgy purposes is required and desired. Want to get involved?

#LearnCreateLaunch #madeatMIDAS #MIDASFabLab #metaltechalley

Membership at MIDAS: What It Can Do For You!

#madeatMIDAS Corporate membership

We at MIDAS are so proud of our Corporate Services.  Membership to the MIDAS Fabrication Lab opens up so many opportunities to expand, develop and grow your business and, ultimately, help you fulfill your innovation or entrepreneurial dreams.

Membership:  beat the competition through rapid prototyping at MIDAS

MIDAS specializes in fast-iteration, short-run and rapid prototyping.  Our membership services are open to regional companies, including start-ups, with a focus on supporting prototype and product commercialization.

Our facility is unique to the entire region, providing members with the best in state-of-the-art modern technology tools – almost half a million dollars in superior digital fabrication equipment and industry leading expertise to help bring your idea or innovation to life!

3D printing technology, CNC milling, vinyl cutting and more!  In addition to the equipment, MIDAS offers the necessary training, providing makers, companies, entrepreneurs and employees with advanced skills to turn business dreams to reality while defining our region as experts in advanced materials/metals and digital fabrication.  With a membership at MIDAS you can get the customized training you need to help you and your business get ahead, embracing new technology and maximizing your business’ potential through the variety of tools and equipment available.  Prototype development can be had at any stage, allowing you to get your product to market faster, hands-on, locally right here in your own backyard.

From engineers to aspiring, innovative entrepreneurs MIDAS customizes the experience to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need to develop your product or service.  Have an idea?  Join the MIDAS corporate membership to help get it out the door!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake #metaltechalley

 

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Fun Friday! Easy & Fun Beginner Maker Ed Projects

banana apple makeymakey DIY beginner maker projects

Maker Ed, or Maker Education, is a new school of educational thought that focuses on delivering constructivist, project-based learning curriculum and instruction to students. As the Maker Movement begins to make inroads into conventional education, maker education spaces are geared to facilitating hands-on learning experiences that incorporate both low and high tech, and can be as large as full high school workshops with high-tech tools, or as small and low-tech as one corner of an elementary classroom.

Maker Ed is particularly effective when leveraging the balance between exploration and execution. Small projects lend themselves to indefinite tinkering and fiddling, while larger projects need complex, coordinated planning. Often, small projects can organically grow into larger and larger projects. This deliberate process strengthens and enriches a learner’s executive functioning skills.

Effective Maker Ed isn’t just about the tools and technology.  Communication and collaboration are two of Maker Ed’s fundamental values. Making allows learners to practice their social communication skills in a variety of ways:  Affinity-based, where students organize themselves in real world and/or Internet (or virtual) to learn something connected to a shared endeavor, interest, or passion; role-specific, where the learning is customized dependent upon the specific tasks and function of the project and the training is presented in the context of a specific role ands what it takes to perform that role; or, teacher-assigned, where the educator facilitates more directly assigning each student to a particular task in the project.  It’s important for all different groups to be present in student learning spaces so that all students can practice their social skills in multiple settings.

Additionally, making offers unique opportunities to generate flow learning, an optimal psychological state that students experience when engaged in an activity that is appropriately challenging to their individual skill levels while encouraging immersion and concentrated focus on a task. Flow learning allows for deeper learning experiences as well as higher levels of personal and work satisfaction where the teacher is better able to leverage high-interest projects and activities and turn them into learning objectives within a curriculum.

Ultimately, we are talking about collaboration and learning through doing.  Maker education provides the space for real-life collaboration, integration across multiple disciplines, and iteration—the opportunity to fail, rework a project and find success.

We at MIDAS are fully committed to supporting the efforts of educators and makers looking to promote a cooperative learning environment where collaboration and education work hand-in-hand encouraging innovation in the most fun and organic ways possible.

New to the Maker Culture and education?  Here are a few fun and easy suggestions to get things going with the young – or old – aspiring makers in your life:

Smaller Scale Maker Ed Projects

Do you want to get into Making and Maker Ed but don’t know where to start? No problem! Here are nine class-tested, teacher-approved ideas, which can be built using a few tools for K–8 students.

tower of power beginner maker projectTowers of Power

Materials:  Paper, Scotch tape.

Tools: Scissors.

A great starting point for a beginning Maker teacher, this “Towers of Power” activity allows students to build towers out of paper and Scotch tape.

Students can build the tallest tower with an unlimited amount of materials, constrain themselves to limited materials or introduce new materials, such as straws and paper clips.

Once it’s complete, have fun crushing the tower with textbooks! Find out which tower holds up the most weight.

This group activity can help students with teamwork, leadership and planning skills. Best of all, variations on this theme are endless — and the materials can be found in any home or office.

simple catapult beginner maker projectCatapults

Materials:  Mouse traps, wood stirring sticks, erasers, wood blocks, ping-pong balls. hot glue.

Tools: a hot glue gun.

 

Introducing elements of STEM, this catapult activity is a favourite project to introduce engineering principles, motion and fun. The catapult allows students to chase down the best launching angle and the ratio between power and arm length, as well as discuss projectile motion, gravity, physics laws and a whole host of other things.

Plus, every student likes trying to smash something apart with a teacher’s permission.

Little hands might pinch themselves handling the strong lever, so it’s good practice to disengage the spring for students while they make their catapults.

Design Challenge Projects

Terrific exercises in STEAM!  And a great way to get into making is to give you and your students a few hours to explore the Making design process. Design challenges are a great way to get this done.

Set a hard time limit, test the devices, take time to evaluate and reflect.

Bridge to Nowhere beginner maker projectBridge to Nowhere

Materials:  Wood craft sticks, hot glue, 5-gallon bucket with weights.

Tools:  Hot glue gun,  diagonal cutters.

Design a bridge to span a foot-long gap and hold as much weight as possible.

An extension could be to build a cantilever — a bridge with only one footing.

Use a set amount of craft sticks or materials in order to encourage creativity in solutions.

Float the Boat

 beginner maker projectFloat the Boat

Materials:  Tinfoil, craft sticks, bamboo skewers, paper, hot glue, clay, wood scraps, pens and markers.

Tools:  Scissors, hot glue guns, craft sticks.

Design a boat that can hold the most cargo, move through the water the fastest, or has the most efficient weight to cargo ratio.

Find the best shape for sails, design the fastest hull and find the balance point.

Egg Drop beginner maker STEM projectEgg Drop

Materials:  Cardboard boxes, packing tape, junk and stuff (the weirder, the better). Think packing materials, fabric scraps, string, rope, plastic bags, etc.

Tools:  Scissors.

Some serious STEM fun!

Throwing eggs off something high always gets kids motivated.

It’s a great way to discuss momentum and illustrate why you should always wear your seat belt!

Beginner Maker projects DIY musical instrumentsInstruments


Materials:  Wood scraps, strings, dried rice, beans, sandpaper, cardboard, cardboard boxes, paper rolls, hot glue, tape, small sections of pipe, etc.

Tools:  Hot glue gun, scissors, hole punch, awl.

If a teacher offers a student the opportunity to make something joyfully noisy, they usually take it.

Homemade, DIY, maker instruments come in all different sizes and types — from wood drums to coffee can shakers, to wind chimes to xylophones, it just takes a bit of a Google search to find great ideas.

Electricity

Once you—parent, teacher, facilitator —get your “legs” for developing and encouraging Maker projects, why not expand your skills?

By now you’ve seen what you and what your kids can do. You’ve probably worked out how to efficiently manage the classroom and supplies, and document learning. Kick it up a level consider some more advanced projects incorporating electricity.

Electromagnetic beginner maker STEM projectElectromagnets



Materials:  Metal bolts, nails, copper wire, batteries.Tools:  Pliers, scissors or wire snips.

Electromagnets illustrate the connection between electricity and magnetism.

In real life, electromagnets are the cornerstone of many common electrical devices, such as door bells, burglar alarms, car doors and electric motors. Students can fiddle with them to create small toys that can pick up ferrous objects.

Squishy Circuits DIY beginner maker projectsSquishy Circuits

Materials:  Battery holder – 4XAA Batteries w/ Switch, (4) AA Batteries, LED – 5mm or 10mm Jumbo, Conductive Dough, Insulating Dough.

Tools:  Hot plate, or stove, and pots, wire snips or scissors.

Squishy circuits are a fun way to learn and explore the basics of electricity and electrical circuits and they solve one of the biggest conundrums with younger Makers: how to build with real electronic components when the young hands have yet to develop the fine motor skills to connect relatively small parts together via grown up tools?

Play dough! Take a piece of flour and a small collection of electronic parts (which you can find online at a low cost.)

You can get all the deets for this project HERE.

banana apple makeymakey DIY beginner maker projectsArduino, Raspberry Pi, MakeyMakey Controller Boards

Materials:

Anything you can get your hands on:   Tinfoil, wires

Tools:  Pliers, scissors, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, MakeyMakey

Once the students have made a few electronic circuits, they might ask for something a bit more complicated.

Give them a programmable microcontroller board, which they can use to play a banana piano, design a custom video game controller or create a dance floor that can play different songs with each tile.

Check out these great microcontroller projects HERE!

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