Some STEM/STEAM-specific programs executed by NextFab, alone or in partnership, include:
NextFab instructs and mentors a team of 6-8 students who compete in the annual U.S. Navy-sponsored Sea Perch Remotely Operated Vehicle competition. The team, which is drawn from several Philadelphia district high schools, is chosen by Philadelphia Futures.
The 2012 team performed even better than previous years. They had a month less to design and build their Sea Perch and performed really well in the obstacle course. The Sea Perch team won won a 2nd place trophy for sportsmanship too!
We also produced the Maker Field Day held at the Franklin Institute Science Museum. This was a low-intensity competitive event with four stations of hands-on activity for children and adults, featuring speed soldering, “bristle bot” races (robots built using a toothbrush head), a carve-your-own-foam-car derby, and a “Tallest Paper Tower” competition. Winners were presented their awards by esteemed American inventor Dean Kamen, creator of the Segway PT.
NextFab staff instructed five girls and boys from El Centro de Estudiantes school, an alternative middle-high school that is part of the Big Picture Network, on how to use the Roland VersaCAMM vinyl print/cut system and Adobe Illustrator, and assisted the collaborative design and printing of banners that were installed on the El Centro campus.
We hosted the Atomic Robotics First Robotics Team for their 2012 season. Students and mentors came to NextFab to design and create parts for their basketball playing robot. Students also used our Trotec Speedy 500 to laser cut necklace pendants that they used for fundraising. The Atomic Robotics Team is currently in competitions and doing well! More images here.
We worked with the Traction Company to print vinyl for their current exhibition, Skyscapes, featuring the work of artist Ryan Hinkel. We printed the artist’s photographs on vinyl using our Roland VersaCAAM vinyl print/cut machine. The exhibition is mounted on the old windows of the Traction Company’s building, located in West Philadelphia at 4100 Haverford Ave.
NextFab hosted and supported a series of workshops aimed at introducing young people to basic electronics through hands-on construction of LED-illuminated jewelry. These workshops were held in conjunction with an exhibit atInternational House.
Four high-school students participating in the YES Program at TEC were mentored through product-development activities at NextFab. The projects included developing an electric-motor-powered scooter, formulating and testing organic perfumes, creating electronic comic books, and designing and producing custom graphic t-shirts.