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Brainy, improv, laughter

The Brainy Benefits of Improvising!

In the world of brainy research, play is getting a pretty good rap right now. Scientists are actively studying the benefits of play on brain development. Let’s not forget about one of the best benefits of Improv – laughing!  Laughter not only exercises our muscles and makes us breathe, it also decreases stress hormones and improves our immune systems!  Here are some of the other amazing benefits of “brainy play!”

Putting the Brakes on Perfectionism

For those of us who suffer from perfectionism and it’s unpleasant manifestations (over-thinking, mental paralysis, undershooting, self-criticism) there is hope!

Charles Limb is a surgeon who studies creativity at John Hopkins University. Using fMRI technology, Limb looked at the brains of musicians while playing a memorized piece of music and compared it to their brain while improvising off the same music. Limb discovered that improvising activated the self-expression portion of the brain while simultaneously deactivating the self-censoring part of the brain.

Limb’s work stresses that as we allow the self-monitoring part of the brain to rest and the self-expressive part of the brain to come to the forefront, we open the door to the creative mind. So not only to we get a rest from the judge in our head, we invite the muse to play.

For Charles Limb’s TedTalk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkRJG510CKo

Brainy Play Creativity and Creative Problem Solving

In addition to Limb’s work, researchers have been studying the benefits of imaginative play, which really is another form of improvisation, on a child’s ability to creatively solve problems. The following studies all focus on children.

Wyver and Spence (1999) examined two types of problems: I’ll call them simple and complex (really convergent and divergent problem solving)  and the effects that play had on the ability to solve these types of problems.  Among other things, this study revealed a significant relationship between pretend play and complex (divergent) problem solving.

Most problems in life require complex thinking so enhancing the ability to use creative problem-solving is as intuitive as it gets.

Family fun with Improv!

Family fun with Improv!

Improves Language Skills

Studies have demonstrated a connection between imaginative or pretend play and language skill acquisition.

One psychologist, Edward Fisher (1992) reviewed 46 studies on the cognitive benefits of brainy play. This mega-analysis (aka meta-analysis) revealed that children who participate in dramatic play improve their performance both from a cognitive-linguistic as well as a social affective perspective.

Sounds pretty technical but I think you get it. While language acquisition is clearly important to children, it’s usefulness is with us our whole lives. Being able to express and communicate effectively with others is at the center of most of our interactions and relationships.

Improves Self Regulation and Reasoning

As we continue to see the importance that emotional intelligence (EQ) has on future career and relationship success, it only makes sense that understanding how to activate and develop this in individuals is super critical.

Scientists studying the effects of imaginative play on self-regulation and the ability to reason discovered that the frequency of pretend play in children was correlated with their ability to self regulate. Self-regulation includes managing emotions, impulses and focusing attention – all important aspects to the development of emotional intelligence. I am convinced we would all be happier if we were better self-regulators.

More about the research at: http://www.parentingscience.com/benefits-of play.html#sthash.iFJsLPzZ.dpuf or http://ecrp.uiuc.edu/v4n1/bergen.html

More Improv Please!

Hopefully you are convinced that practicing and doing improvisation/imaginative play can have some pretty great side effects. If this article has peaked your interest, I will venture to make some suggestions. Keep in mind, I am not a scientist (ok- maybe at heart).

First off, life is an improvisation, so in some ways you are activating all these part of your brain everyday. But if you are wanting to increase your creativity, problem-solving, self-regulation, etc. while putting the brakes on your inner critic it makes sense to me that finding a way to improvise could be the ticket.

So if you’re a musician, you can spend more time improvising as opposed to playing memorized pieces.

Otherwise, taking an improv comedy class is a great way to access the imaginative side of your brain. You will play brainy games that get you out of your head and access your creative side. The more you do it, the more you will experience that sense of creative self-expression flowing from you. Plus, you will probably laugh more than you have in months – seriously – and we all know the benefits of laughter on the body, but that’s a whole other blog.

About Pam Farone

Pam Farone is a career satisfaction coach and improv instructor focused on creating joyful careers and cheerful work environments.

www.pamfarone.com

Resources

Buchsbaum D, Bridgers S, Skolnick Weisberg D, Gopnik A. 2012. The power of possibility: causal learning, counterfactual reasoning, and pretend play. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 367(1599):2202-12. – See more at: http://www.parentingscience.com/benefits-of-play.html#sthash.iFJsLPzZ.dpuf

Fisher, Edward P. (1992). The impact of play on development: A meta-analysis. Play and Culture, 5(2), 159-181.

Limb CJ, Braun AR. Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: an FMRI study of jazz improvisation. PLoS One. 2008; 3(2):e1679. PMID: 18301756; PMCID: PMC2244806.

Walker CM and Gopnik A. 2013. Pretense and possibility–a theoretical proposal about the effects of pretend play on development: comment on Lillard et al. (2013). Psychol Bull. 139(1):40-4.

Wyver, Shirley R., & Spence, Susan H. (1999). Play and divergent problem solving: Evidence supporting a reciprocal relationship. Early Education and Development, 10(4), 419-444. EJ 593 718.

Dr. Tony Wagner, Author, Innovator, Educator

Dr. Tony Wagner – STEAM Fest Keynote Speaker on April 30th at Boulder Fairgrounds

Dr. Tony Wagner, Author, Innovator, Educator

Dr. Tony Wagner, author and innovator, will be the keynote speaker at STEAM Fest 2016

Dr. Tony Wagner has been shaking up education (and parenting), for years.  His six books, including bestselling Creating Innovators and The Global Achievement Gap, now in its Second Edition, are printed in over 14 languages and have sold millions of copies around the world.

He was recently the Strategic Education Advisor for a major new education documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed,” and co-authored the book by the same name with Ted Dintersmith.  Dr. Wagner joins us at Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest to expose us all to ideas about how we can prepare our children (and ourselves), to be more creative and capable in the Innovation Era.

Dr. Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills for Careers, College and Citizenship

In his work as Expert in Residence at Harvard University’s new Innovation Lab, Dr. Wagner asserts that there are seven survival skills that we all need to not just succeed, but actually thrive in the Innovation Era.  These include(1):

  • Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
  • Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
  • Effective Oran and Written Communication
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination

America is caught between a “rock and a hard place” according to Dr. Wagner, because we need new skills to be successful in our careers. But more and more, students are not graduating from our schools with these skills.  What’s more, they are motivated to learn differently as a result of growing up in the “Net Generation.”  Our schools have not changed as quickly as our students have.

What Motivates the Net Generation?

Many things are different for a student that has been raised with instant access to information. The Net Generation has also shopped with stores like Amazon.com – where they are treated personally and are “served” relevant products based on their shopping behaviors.

Young people have come to expect a personalized experience in all interactions.  They are also accustomed to being able to explore areas that they are interested in through independent exploration. They surf YouTube, find special-interest sites, and connect to other people that share their interests.

This web of connections is ever growing and changing.  Young people are exposed to new tools every day and they are not intimidated by the rapid change in their world.  They want to learn from their peers, but don’t necessarily respect authority.  Their best learning often happens outside a traditional classroom.

What’s Next for Education? How can it Keep Up?

author, achievement gap

Three of Dr. Wagner’s six internationally bestselling books.

Dr. Wagner’s specific prescriptions for adapting education systems include a fresh look at critical topics to zero in on developing the seven survival skills mentioned above.  He advocates for activity-based (also known as project-based or problem-based) learning which increases classroom discussion and engagement, and often deepens learning.

The courses suggested, “aim not to draw students into a discipline, but to bring the disciplines into students’ lives… in ways that link the arts and sciences with the 21st century world that students will face and the lives they will lead after college.” (2)

Join us for Dr. Tony Wagner’s Presentation

Saturday, April 30th at 2pm

Your ticket to STEAM Fest includes admission to Dr. Wagner’s presentation.

Purchase tickets to STEAM Fest HERE.  Seating at Dr. Wagner’s presentation is limited and is first-come, first-served.  Arrive early to ensure your seat.

 

(1) Dr. Tony Wagner, Copyright 2010. http://www.slideshare.net/thinkglobalschool/tony-wagner-nais-presentation-11351911
(2) Harvard General Education Homepage: http://www.generaleducation.fas.harvard.edu/icb/icb.do

Meet: Mark’s Art Car

Meet a Maker: Mark Moffett and the Fantastical Art Car

The Art Car parked at Alloy Gallery in Lafayette

The Art Car parked at Alloy Gallery in Lafayette

After a months-long struggle, we finally secured a car on August 8, 2015! A 1996 Volkswagen Golf. Thanks to Martha Lanaghen and Jeff Scott from MakerBolder!

My build partner for this pro ject is Jackson Ellis. Construction began on August 17 at Alloy Gallery in Lafayette. Jackson and I worked through the week, reconfiguring, removing and welding the skin. Our sheet metal and metal objects were donated by Uncle Benny’s Building Supplies, in Loveland.

Our first glueing event took place at Art Night Out in Lafayette, Friday, August 21. It was a great night and the town really embraced the project. Several members of the community participated. We painted some areas of the the car with chalkboard paint for those who wanted11924774_10153163792670698_1240388022519427465_n clean hands and clothes. We received donated objects from Sister Carmen, RAFT Colorado; and Art Parts Creative Reuse Center in Boulder. I purchased other materials at Goodwill Outlet World in Denver. Thanks to our host J Lucas Loeffler and Alloy Gallery!

The following night, we trekked to Denver for the Colorado Night Market. An audience participation, pop-up art show, held in the back of U-Haul Trucks! It was a very original, fun-filled evening. However, the most excitement came during our trip back to Lafayette, when we we’re pulled over by Westminister Police. Our tail-lights were on the fritz! Fortunately, they were more curious than anything. We were allowed to continue, as long as our support van had it’s flashers on! Thanks officers!

 Then, we trekked to the Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest where we visited with hundreds of people and worked with the materials we had collected.  More work is yet to come, and we’re always looking for donations for this car – or if you have an ol11887525_10153159427525698_5869335902549702919_od car you’d love to donate, we’re ready to start new projects as well.  Just email info@www.makerbolder1.dev to learn more.

Great objects include:

  • Happy Meal Toys
  • Action figures
  • Dolls and doll heads
  • Skeletons and skulls (plastic please!)
  • Multiples: shells, marbles, small rocks, corks, pennies
  • Mardi Gras beads and glass beads
  • Old jewelry and gems
  • Any interesting plastic items
  • Old damaged musical instruments

All items should be weather-proof and able to spend time in the Colorado sun.

Thanks for your interest and keep watching for updates!
Robotics, workshops, science, experiences, innovative, boulder, robots

Meet: Watershed School

A recent headline in Wired magazine put it simply: “Schools are preparing students for a world that doesn’t exist.” After all, how many times have you found a job memorizing historical dates or filling out worksheets? That kind of education is no longer relevant.

At Watershed School, our mission is to build the character and the ability of students to take on the world’s greatest challenges. For us, that means teaching them to create original solutions to real-world problems – 3d printer studentsand develop the ability to adapt, collaborate, and create.

At Watershed, this looks very different than students sitting in rows. It means

  • Starting a small business in an economics class
  • Using Arduino circuits to solve a problem in engineering
  • Learning Spanish by navigating the streets of small town Guatemala
  • Using design thinking to reduce the amount of waste headed to landfill

As a result, kids love coming to school. Your children are natural born inventors, entrepreneurs, and creative problem solvers. Giving kids the tools to express it makes them happier and more successful.

We support STEAMFest because STEAMFest is about this different way of learning. In Boulder, we are lucky to be part of a community of technological problem-solvers, educational innovators, and open-minded parents looking for something different.

11922958_1016768991675554_256434779100010393_o(1)And after STEAMFest, check us out at www.realworldlearning.is, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter at @watershed_co. You could even call us on an old-fashioned phone. We’d love to show you a different kind of school.

Earth to Pluto – Cathy Olkin, Planetary Scientist to Speak at STEAM Fest

Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest is honored to present Cathy Olkin, of the Southwest Research Institute, at 4pm on Sunday, September 6th.

Cathy is a planetary scientist at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO.   Her main topic of research is the outer solar system, specifically planetary atmospheres and surfaces.

Cathy enjoys chasing the shadows of stars to learn about planetary atmospheres through ‘stellar occultation’ observations. These events have taken Cathy to many exotic locations from Hawaii, to the Marshall Islands, Australia, South Africa and Switzerland.

She also enjoys studying the ices in the outer solar system.  On Pluto, Triton and other bodies, molecules that are usually in gaseous state on Earth are solid at the cold temperatures of the outer solar system.  Using infrared spectroscopy, spreading infrared light into its separate wavelengths, we can learn about these ices including methane ice, nitrogen ice, carbon monoxide ice and ethane ice.03_Olkin_01

Cathy didn’t always know that she wanted to be a planetary scientist.  As a child, she was interested in many different subjects including how things worked.  She liked to take household items (like the phone) apart.

Cathy attended MIT where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Aerospace and Aeronautical engineering in 1988.  She then proceeded to Stanford to earn a Masters degree in the same field.  After that, Cathy took a job at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) where she worked in the Navigation section on the Cassini mission (well before it launched).

Motivated by the exciting science of the Cassini mission, Cathy decided to go back to MIT to study planetary science.  She obtained her PhD at MIT in 1996 based largely on airborne astronomical observations used to study the atmosphere of Neptune’s largest moon, Triton.

From there, she worked at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona investigating the rings of Saturn and using data from the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the mass ratio of Charon (Pluto’s largest moon) to Pluto.

NH_NationalAirAndSpaceMuseumCathy now works at Southwest Research Institute where she is currently the Deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto.  Working on New Horizons is the perfect job for her, combining her background in engineering and her scientific interests. The spacecraft traveled more than 9 years and 3 billion miles to reach the Pluto system. This summer, New Horizons spacecraft flew through the Pluto system taking the first ever high-resolution images of Pluto and its surface.  The data from the encounter with the Pluto system is continuing to be returned to the ground, and we can already see that this information has transformed our understanding of the Pluto system.

Who is Temple Grandin?

Dr. Grandin will be joining us for Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest on Sunday morning and will be speaking at 2 p.m.

Temple Grandin is a professorRW Temple headshot of animal science at Colorado State University and she has been a pioneer in improving the handling and welfare of farm animals.

She was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Temple’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Fortunately, her mother defied the advice of the doctors and kept her out of an institution. Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled Temple to learn speech. As a teenager, life was hard with constant teasing. Mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated Temple to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

RW Photo Temple with Cow

Temple Grandin with a cow

Dr. Temple Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1974 she was employed as Livestock Editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Dr. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a Professor at Colorado State University.

I have done extensive work on the design of handling facilities. Half the cattle in the U.S. and Canada are handled in equipment I have designed for meat plants. Other professional activities include developing animal welfare guidelines for the meat industry and consulting with companies on animal welfare.

Following her Ph.D. research on the effect of environmental enrichment on the behavior of pigs, she has published several hundred industry publications, book chapters and technical papers on animal handling plus 63 refereed journal articles in addition to ten books. She currently is a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University where she continues her research while teaching courses on livestock handling and facility design. Her book, Animals in Translation was a New York Times best seller and her book Livestock Handling an Transport, now has a fourth edition which was published in 2014. Other popular books authored by Dr. Grandin are Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic, Animals Make us Human, Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach, The Way I See It, and The Autistic Brain. She also has a popular TED Talk.

Dr. Grandin has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, named a Distinguished Alumni at Franklin Pierce College and received an honorary doctorate from McGill University, University of Illinois, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon University, and Duke University. She has also won prestigious industry awards including the Richard L. Knowlton Award from Meat Marketing and Technology Magazine and the Industry Advancement Award from the American Meat Institute and the Beef Top 40 industry leaders and the Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In 2015 she was given the Distinguished Service Award by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Her work has also been recognized by humane groups and she received several awards. HBO has recently premiered a movie about Temple’s early life and career with the livestock industry. The movie received seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award. In 2011, Temple was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was also honored in Time Magazines 2010 “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” In 2012, Temple was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame. Dr. Grandin now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.

IMPACT STATEMENT OF DR. GRANDIN’S WORK

Dr. Temple Grandin has had a major impact on the meat and livestock industries worldwide. List below are six specific examples that document this influence.

  • Design of Animal Handling Facilities – Dr. Grandin is one of the world’s leaders in the design of livestock handling facilities. She has designed livestock facilities throughout the United States and in Canada, Europe, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and other countries. In North America, almost half of all cattle processing facilities include a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Her curved chute systems are used worldwide and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behavior have helped many producers to reduce stress during handling. Temple has also designed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants. This system is being used by many large corporations to improve animal care.
  • Industry Consulting – Dr. Grandin has consulted with many different industry organizations each year for the past ten years. These efforts represent the majority of her time as she has a part-time appointment at Colorado State University but a thriving business as a consultant. The majority of her work is involved with large feedlots and commercial meat packers. She has worked with Cargill, Tyson, JBS Swift, Smithfield, Seaboard, Cactus Feeders, and many other large companies. Her company also does design work for many ranches. She was also involved with several major packing companies. Her consulting has led to work with companies such as Wendy’s International, Burger King, Whole Foods, Chipotle, and McDonald’s Corporation, where she has trained auditors regarding animal care at processing plants. She also has consulted with organic and natural livestock producers on animal care standards The animal handling guidelines that she wrote for the American Meat Institute are being used by many large meat buying customers to objectively audit animal handling and stunning.
  • Research – Dr. Grandin maintains a limited number of graduate students and conducts research that assists in developing systems for animal handling and, in particular, with the reduction of stress and losses at the packing plant. She has published her research in the areas of cattle temperament, environmental enrichment of pigs, livestock behavior during handling, reducing dark cutters and bruises, bull fertility housing dairy cattle and effective stunning methods for cattle and hogs.
  • Media Exposure – Dr. Grandin has provided worldwide media exposure for the livestock industry and, in particular, with issues relating to animal care.       She has appeared on television shows such as 20/20, 48 hours, CNN Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, and has been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and Time magazine. Interviews with Dr. Grandin have been broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR) and she has been taped for similar shows in Europe.       She was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people. HBO has made a movie about her life starring Claire Danes.
  • Outreach – Dr. Grandin maintains an appointment with Cooperative Extension at Colorado State where she has been active in making presentations to Colorado ranchers and farmers as well as those interested in the packing industry. She is sought after to discuss issues of quality assurance. Privately, she has developed her own website (www.grandin.com) which has been expanded to include information on livestock handling in addition to information relative to the design of handling systems. A section on bison handling and one in Spanish have been popular. Over 2,000 people visit the website every month and approximately 1,000 download significant amounts of information.       As many as 1,431 files were downloaded daily and over 42,000 have been downloaded in a single month.       The website has been accessed by people from over 50 countries worldwide. She also did a TED talk in 2010 entitled, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.”
  • International Activities – It is clear from the wide variety of information accessed via the website, presentations made in international settings and interest in livestock handling systems developed by Dr. Grandin that her work has reached an international audience. She typically travels to make presentations internationally 3-5 times annually.

View Temple’s TED Talk

 

Meet a Maker: HyPars

denny and elliotMeet Denny, Isaac and Mitzi Newland, The startup team for HyPars LLC. We are two dads, a mom, a husband and wife team, a semi-retired nuclear engineer, a very retired customer service manager, a tech support specialist and soon, professional toymakers!isaac and mitzi

What do you make?

HyPars, the cool name for hyperbolic paraboloids. They are geometry based building toys that we hope the world will soon come to love.

How did you get started making and why?

Denny invented the toys and needed a lot of help getting them to market. Mitzi got involved with the technical writing and Isaac pitched in. We’ve just been taking on more roles as they come up. Turns out there are a lot of hats to wear.

bloom bouquetWhat’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make?

When Denny started, he thought he had put together every type of creation possible with HyPars. As soon as we showed them to new people, the ideas began flooding in! It’s great to see that everyone has amazing ideas and we’re happy to share in them. Mitzi’s favorite so far is the Helical Coil that a future geneticist made. Love it!

What is your advice to creators looking to do what you do or make what you make?

Perseverance is required

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?

Seeing the ideas that people have come to life firsthand!

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?twisted

Hopefully, we will be creating our toys in our brand new building in Longmont, Colorado. We’ve secured land just east of Sandstone Ranch and should be breaking ground on the building within the next year!

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?

Hyperbolic paraboloids do not always lend themselves to creating the exact shapes you want. We still haven’t found a good way to make a cube shaped box, but we’re working on it.

Bonus question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?

The owners of Zometools! We’re huge fans.

Meet a Maker: Boxwood Pinball

Boxwood Pinball is made by Bill and Travis, two artists that love pinball and use their talents to create the most amazing handcrafted wooden pinball machines.

William Manke owner of Boxwood Pinball is a kinetic sculptor. I enjoy the learning process and craftsmanship of woodworking. I spend my days inventing pinball machines and honing my craft.

Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 10.29.52 AMWhat do you make?
I make wooden pinball machines that use board game style rules.

How did you get started making and why?
Boxwood Pinball started as an artist collaboration between William Manke and Travis Hetman. We both love playing pinball and use our skills to create our own machines.

What’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make?
Pinball designer Barry Oursler, who has games all over the world, described it as “The Flintstones” come to life.

What is your advice to creators looking to do what you do or make what you make?
The most important part of being a creator is being CREATIVE, show me something no one else has seen.10151892_282983288528537_3560899948052722914_n

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?
The maker movement is all about the melding of art and science, science lets your imagination come alive.

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?
Young makers are all about limitless possibilities, using technology is second nature to them, and they will take us places we never dreamed of.

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?
Robotic Dinosaurs.

Bonus question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Albert Einstein11164789_433992793427585_988850267037516284_n

Boxwood Pinball will be joining us at this year’s Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest. If you’re interested in sponsoring the creation of a LIFE SIZE (6′ tall) multi-player pinball game, email Anne@MakerBoulder.com!

Meet a Maker: Hypatia Studio

Hypatia-smiles-1-of-1-216x300Hypatia Studio is a husband-and-wife team of Matt Roesle and Mahi Palanisami. We are both mechanical engineers by training. Mahi has worked in construction and HVAC design, and is interested in documentary radio and film as well as dance. Matt has researched heat transfer and fluid flow, and is interested in all most things nerdy. We’ve known each other for about eight years, have been married for two, and started our 3D printed jewelry business a little over a year ago.

What do you make?

We use 3D printing to make mathematical jewelry and sculpture. Our designs are based on geometrical concepts such as Platonic solids or braids, or are direct embodiments of equations like strange attractors or fractals, or are derived from simulations of physical things like water flow or sound waves. I usually write our own software to make the 3D models of our designs, have them 3D printed using an online printing service, and then do finishing work and assembly.

How did you get started making and why?3D printed_Hypatia Studio_fancy clean platonic solid earrings

I’ve always been interested in building things. I started learning computer programming, in BASIC, at about age 8; and for as long as I can remember I’ve loved to take things apart to see how they work. (Successfully putting them back together came later!)

What’s the most amazing, unusual (craziest) thing anyone has ever done with or told you about what you make? 

Recently we had the opportunity to show some of our jewelry in a fashion show at RAW Denver. The hair artist also took some strange attractor sculptures I had made, and wove them into the models’ hair as fantastic hair pieces. I never would have thought to do that!

What is your adv3D printed_Hypatia studio_Julias scaffoldice to creators looking to do what you do or make what you make?

The most important thing to have is hands-on experience, and the best way to get it is to just start trying to make things. At first the things you make might not work more often than they do work, but if you can figure out what went wrong and learn something from it, you haven’t failed. (Even though it might not feel like it at the time.) Theoretical knowledge, like you get through a college education, is helpful too, but you will get more from college if you have practical and life experience first.

What is your favorite part about the maker movement?

I really like how the maker movement encourages people to just go out and try things. You don’t need formal education, fancy tools, or a big workshop to make really cool things. I also like how the proliferation of hacker spaces and events like the Rocky Mountain STEAMfest emphasize local co3D printed_Hypatia Studio_Silver swoop ringmmunity-building. The local can get lost in this age of national TV networks and the global Internet. Most of us will never be on national TV or in a magazine like MAKE or get 15 seconds of fame by going viral, but we can play an important and lasting role in our own community by helping, teaching and mentoring, and celebrating each other.

Where do you see your making going in the next 3 to 5 years?

Right now we are trying to grow our jewelry business enough to support us as a full-time business. In three to five years, I hope that we will have succeeded in that, and we will be starting to think about and plan our next endeavor – what that will be, I have no idea yet.

What do you wish you could make but don’t know how to (yet)?

I made the 3D p3D printed_Hypatia Studio_choker bronze steelrinter we have at home, and we use it to make prototypes of some of our designs and some larger sculpture pieces. But it can’t really handle small or intricate designs, and I wish I knew how to make the kind of printer that can print small, detailed parts in wax or a more durable plastic like nylon!

Inventions we Love! Matrix Flare

We had so much fun at Denver Mini Maker Faire!  We saw tons of great new things, and met interesting people that are working on creative and wonder-inducing new inventions.

One of our favorites is Matrix Flare (and they’ve signed up to exhibit at the upcoming STEAM Fest – so be sure to join us and check them out!)

We interviewed Tasha Bingman and learned more about Matrix Flare.  We hope you’ll support her Kickstarter campaign.  We think you’ll be inspired by her story.

An idea is born
matrix.cubes

Matrix Flare cubes show off their creative animations and artwork created in the Pixel Maker App.

Tasha initially created this project for her 7 year old so he could learn about circuits, programming, graphical user interfaces (GUI), and still be able to create art quickly.  He enjoys it so much she thought it would be a fantastic Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) project.  After they’d created a couple of them, they realized that they were playing with the animations so much they figured others would enjoy them as well. Read more

Events

galaxy, explore, STEM, girls

Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest 2017 – Sunday

Wonder with a capital WOW!  STEAM Fest 2017

The Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest is two full days of hands-on science and arts.  Over 90 exhibits and over 125 activities.  Roll your sleeves up and get ready to explore and experience learning.

  • Robots
  • Drones
  • Gooey Science
  • Quilting and handcrafts
  • Agricultural sciences
  • So much more!

Exhibits range from building race cars to human-sized Minecraft (yep, you read it right!)

Exhibitor applications are being taken now, sign up early (now), we sold out last year and you don’t want to miss this!

We need over 150 volunteers to make the event a reality – and we have positions starting today if you want to sign-up now to get involved year-round.

Combat robot competition

Combat Robots at Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest

There’s a Robot Rumble in the Rockies!

Combat Robots are crashing, smashing, sparking and crushing at this year’s inaugural Combat Robot Competition at the Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest.  Click HERE to register your Ant(s) and Beetle(s) to battle!

Wanna watch the fun?

Your Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest ticket includes admission to the Combat Robot battles! Get your TICKETS today!

Wanna throw your bot in the ring?

Register today to enter your 1 lb or 3 lb SPARC compliant robot into the battles. Learn more and REGISTER soon – spaces are limited.

galaxy, explore, STEM, girls

Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest 2017 – Saturday

Wonder with a capital WOW!  STEAM Fest 2017

The Rocky Mountain STEAM Fest is two full days of hands-on science and arts.  Over 90 exhibits and over 125 activities.  Roll your sleeves up and get ready to explore and experience learning.

  • Robots
  • Drones
  • Gooey Science
  • Quilting and handcrafts
  • Agricultural sciences
  • So much more!

Exhibits range from building race cars to human-sized Minecraft (yep, you read it right!)

Exhibitor applications are being taken now, sign up early (now), we sold out last year and you don’t want to miss this!

We need over 150 volunteers to make the event a reality – and we have positions starting today if you want to sign-up now to get involved year-round.