Sunday, February 2, 2014

Reflections from 3DPW - Part 1

This weekend, some BPC students were able to participate in the 3D Printer World Expo in Burbank, CA, thanks to a 3D Printer World $25,000 travel fund for educators and students.  A few of the students event took advantage of a deep education discount for full seminar passes.  As you can see in the photo to the right, there were one of few kids in the seminars!
One highlight for us was spending time with Brook Drumm at the Printrbot booth.  Brook was the one who helped us get started with 3D printing back in December 2011.

BPC kids with Brook Drumm, Printrbot

Brook Drumm tells the story of the Robohand
Brook shared with us a Robohand, worn by a girl in South Africa for 9 months until she outgrew it and had they had to print her a new one.  You can read the story behind the first robohand, which is now even available on Thingiverse!  Brook told us how he's worked with Richard van As (the inventor of the robohand) and Not Impossible Labs, a cool organization whose mission is to use "Technology for the sake of humanity."  You can watch this inspiring video below, which was featured in the Organovo medical advances exhibit:

The kids were surprised to learn that Printrbot has a dual extrusion option, and is working on some triple extrusion designs.  They even got a sneak peek at the upcoming improvements to the Printrbot Simple!

The kids get a sneak peek at upcoming Printrbot models

Here are some student reflections on the experience:

"The medical stuff was maybe most interesting. I saw a story about this guy who had cancer and his face was, like, gone.  Then they scanned his face and made a patch (a mirror image).  It was new and I hadn't really seen that technology used for medical uses before." - Noah, 8th grade

A lot of the technology we've already seen.  [The Expo floor] wasn't necessarily new showcase technology.  But there was one booth that did showcase technology that I hadn't seen before.   It was a company Sixense. [UPDATED 2.5.14:  Their Kickstarter launched today.]  They had used motion track technology they used in video games to make a tool that makes modeling in 3D a lot easier and is a new way to approach modeling - as close as we can get to modeling something with our own hands." - Isaac, 8th grade

"This first show [seemed to be] to show 3D printing to the general public. I'm hoping next year, once 3D printing has caught on more, that 3D Printer World Expo will be more of a show to release new upcoming printers." - Cole, 8th grade

"I liked a lot of the Stratasys booth cuz it had a lot of working mechanisms, like gears and stuff.  Also, that electroplate Afinia stuff was cool, too, with the electroplated ABS plastic."  - Morgan, 8th grade

Things we (I) will follow up with:
  • Octoprint - Connect your printer to any small embedded and WiFi enabled device (such as the Raspberry Pi) and this open source software allows you operate your printer from any browser! 
  • Getting reading glasses for our Kinect
  • GrabCAD - seems like this is the Thingiverse for engineers?  Perhaps not useful for students at this time
  • Teaching about patents in the curriculum.  Especially now that I learned that, unlike copyright, there is no Fair Use with patents - no exception for home use, or personal use.  I already teach the kids about Creative Commons, Copyright, and Fair Use, but I'll need to work in some patent awareness as these teens experiment in our remix culture.
Oh, and if you are wondering... we did not win a free 3D printer...
... this time!

1 comment:

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