Crossbeams – Building Made Easy (and Fun!)
We caught up with Charles Sharman, creator of the most-excellent building toy, Crossbeams. His story is exactly what we’re all about at Maker Bolder – seeing an opportunity and making something to meet the need. Here’s his story.
The Aim of Crossbeams
“Dad, can we make a maglev train?” This question, posed by my five-year-old son, sparked the beginning of Crossbeams. Whether it’s a spaceship, a skyscraper, an animal, or a maglev train, all of us want to make and create. It’s in our blood. But when it comes to actually doing it, the task can be overwhelming. You may have to know trigonometry, algebra, mechanics, thermodynamics, electronics, art, drafting, machining, and more. I designed Crossbeams to simplify the building task. You dream, and Crossbeams helps you create.
Many creative platforms exist for younger ages. Yet many younger active creators become passive consumers as they age, immersed in video games, social media, smart phones, and television. I designed Crossbeams to hold the interest of older and advanced creators.
Dreams to Reality
Making Crossbeams’ a reality wasn’t easy, particularly with a full-time job and family. First, I had to enhance my knowledge. During late nights and early mornings, I taught myself mechanics, gear design, and machining. I studied the limitations of current building systems and identified enhancements. A plethora of piece-types limits some building systems. According to Mark Changizi and others building system’s creativity is enhanced by minimizing piece-types an maximizing the ways pieces connect. Delicacy limits some building systems. I wanted a model car that could crash into the wall without disintegrating. Finally, straight lines and boxiness limits some building systems. I wanted to accurately replicate lines and surfaces.
Next, I needed a way to try out pieces in a complete model without blowing the bank on prototyping costs. I wanted to ensure models
looked appealing and the piece-types were minimal. I created the Crossbeams Modeller, a software tool to virtually connect Crossbeams pieces.
I started with three core models:
I believed a building toy that could closely replicate these models could closely replicate many more. Initially, the models took more than 160 piece-types. After much work, I narrowed it to the 47 piece-types used today.
Finally, I needed a sturdy joint that locks pieces much more strongly than the joints in children’s building toys. Children’s building toys use friction-based joints; the force to connect is equal to the force to disconnect. That causes an inherent trade-off. If you make it stronger, you make it harder to assemble. Instead, I based my joint on a cotter pin two-motion joint. A two-motion joint unrelates the join force and separation force. I started with a cotter pin, and it evolved into our patented, simple slide-and-twist joint.
The Future of Crossbeams
While Crossbeams has captured much of its original intent, we still have far to go. Ages 10-12 and 20+ make our largest customer base. We haven’t captured the hearts of young adults, for whom the system was intended.
We designed Crossbeams from the ground up to handle electronics but later tabled electronics to maintain our debt-free principle. Most of the electronics package is designed and ready. Once sales grow, we can make my son’s maglev.
Success won’t be judged by money in the bank but by a sampling of society. Whether it’s Crossbeams, musical compositions, stories, or painting, once young adults are known for their creating instead of their consuming, our work is done.
Bringing a Galaxy of Experiences to the Colorado Front Range
A grass-roots organization is working across the Colorado Front Range to create the coolest science and tech center in the region – the Science Galaxy Museum. The group started small but has been gaining steam (…pun intended). The team consists of scientists, educators, philanthropists and other community members who come from a wide variety of backgrounds – all of whom care about a common theme, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).
Why does the Front Range need a science center?
In a time when our region lacks a sufficiently educated workforce to fill our rapidly expanding technology sector, Science Galaxy will empower a new generation of science and technology innovators. The science center’s focus of creating opportunities for people of all ages to explore open-ended activities covering a broad range of STEAM topics is shown to boost achievement in STEAM-related careers.
What is the vision for Science Galaxy?
Science Galaxy is a collaborative center that fosters educational partnerships with area schools, research institutions, tech
nology businesses, and existing non-profit science education groups. The founding committee envisions Science Galaxy as a community resource where everyone can explore science and innovation in an interactive way. Think of it as a destination for interactive science experiences.
What sets Science Galaxy apart?
Just look around you. Colorado is an amazing region, and Boulder County specifically is full of accomplished scientists, techies, and entrepreneurs. Science Galaxy is creating a place to showcase our area’s achievements and encourage curiosity for the world around us.
Who is Science Galaxy for?
In short…everyone! The team wants to encourage not just students, but all visitors to open their minds to the possibilities. In fact, core to the Center’s mission will be outreach to encourage people of all backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, etc. to explore what STEAM has to offer. Broad access is essential to feeding curious minds.
Will it ever really happen?
The team is really excited about the overwhelming positive response they’ve received from the community. We recently released an online survey (still in progress, you can respond here), and the clear message is that the region will welcome a science center with open arms!
“The process of a “start-up” museum is an amazing learning experience. Every community member we meet with teaches us something new and helps us move this monumental project forward, which is extremely rewarding,” commented Kristin Lawrence, one of the leaders of the Science Galaxy effort.
What’s the next step?
The team is asking for help to build a new Science Center here in Boulder County. “It’s important to us,” said, Lawrence, “that this center is built with the greater community at the center of the design. To that end, we are actively seeking input through a variety of tools, including the online survey.”
The team is also looking for appropriate property, talking with local businesses and practitioners to learn more about what should be included in an experiential museum, and seeking funding to support construction and staffing for the effort.
People who complete the survey can elect to be entered into a drawing to win gift cards to local shops or a brand new Spark Sphero. You can also let the Science Galaxy team know that you’re interested in helping when you complete the survey.
To take the survey, click the link below or copy and paste it into a Web browser.
To learn more about Science Galaxy: www.sciencegalaxy.org
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.
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.
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.
Quick Thinking. Hilarious. Improv!
What’s this whole improv thing and why is everyone so jazzed about it?
Improvisational comedy has steadily been gaining ground for the past 15 years or so (though its roots date back to the 16th century, the modern form of improv was introduced in the 1940’s and 50’s) it seems that everyone is trying it these days. If you are one of the people who has been curious and standing on the sidelines – let us introduce you to great reasons for you to jump in!
What is improv?
You could say it’s a mindset, but that wouldn’t be accurate because one of the tenets of improv is to get OUT of your head. Improv is a theatrical art form where the story, characters and action are created collaboratively in the moment. There are no scripts or predetermined plots, just like in life. However, you are guided by a series of rules or guidelines that encourage more harmonious and creative play. So really taking an improv class and participating in improv exercises you are being introduced to a new way of being, of acting on life. Continued participation strengthens your ability to experience a new, more effective way of engaging in the world.
Who can benefit?
Often the perception about improv is that it is something only for the funny and the brave or for actors and theater types. Wrong! Anyone who wants to experience more fun, connection and living the principles of Zen-in-action, can benefit from an improv class. No one says you have to perform, but chances are once you do this stuff and get a little more comfortable getting out of your head and trusting your fellow players, you won’t mind an invitation to go up on stage.
What will it do for me?
Improv massages and resurrects positive aspects of living that may have atrophied over the years. Here are just a few things improv can do for you:
- Letting Go. Most of us have been taught and reinforced that the way we get through life successfully is that we figure out how to manipulate and control it. Our motto is, “when the going gets rough- hold on tighter.” Unfortunately, that really doesn’t work. It leads only to anger, reacting with fear and negativity, denying reality and trying to change and mold it to “my way.” Then where are we? Frustrated, uptight, and unhappy. Improv teaches you to flow with what is. You will get to experience into what is placed in front of you and you will experience how to relax into it and work with it.
- Right Thinking. Are you an overthinker? Is your mind more a foe than a friend? You’re not alone. We are all taught to think things out thoroughly before acting on anything. After doing that, some of us are frozen in inaction. We’ve lost the ability to trust our instincts and impulses. The other way we misuse our brain power is to defend our positions and get locked into judgement of right and wrong. By doing improv exercises we are encouraged to “jump in” and decide. Choose. Make a choice and know that it will all be ok. There are no mistakes in improv – another powerful principle. Imagine playing with that principle over time. Improv allows you to use your brain more fully – accessing both hemispheres and shutting down the critic.
- Connect with the Fun. There was a time in your life when that was all you knew- play and fun. It’s called childhood. Kids under the age of 10 are probably the only people who don’t need an improv class. They seek play and fun in most situations- doesn’t matter if they are in class, at church or standing in line at the grocery store. Improv connects us back to our playful nature. Say hello to the fun you that got buried under the shoulds and demands of life. Play again!
- Trust. How much is fear running you right now? It’s a pretty scarey world out there. Just turn on the news for three minutes and we are reinforced that this world is a very unsafe place. Improv gets you believing in the goodness of life and people. Improv doesn’t work without an atmosphere of support and trust. Improv teaches two very key principles – take care of yourself, and take care of others. Hugely important principles. You learn that you can’t take care of others without taking care of yourself and you really can’t truly be happy and fulfilled with out serving others. Improv by it’s very nature reinforces the trust force field.
- Saying “Yes” to Life. Sometimes we can feel like that two year old that just says no to everything. That’s another way of saying “my way.” That doesn’t work in improv. It’s a moment-by-moment thing that grows by our attachment to the principle of “Yes And!” Meaning not only do we agree with what has been placed in front of us, we add to it.
All these things work together; as we let go, use our mind correctly to say “yes and” to life then we begin to trust and experience more joy and a liberating and invigorating sense of play.
Now who wouldn’t want more of that?
Interested in learning more about Improv? Come to our Family Improv Night on March 11th, 2016.
Written by: Pam Farone
Pam Farone is a career coach and improv instructor focused on creating joyful careers and happy work environments.
There exists a world where everything is possible; where fairies and woodland creatures rejoice together in peace and harmony. There is a place full of wonders and magic surrounded by enchanting forests, sparkle and bewilderment. Such a place does not abide only in our imagination and dreams, but it is present in our own gardens and backyards. The only thing needed for this world to come alive is just a pinch of your inspiration and wit. Here we provide you a step-by-step tutorial on how to create your own marvelous fairy garden.
Containers and Pots
The first step to creating a wondrous fairy garden is choosing the right containers and pots. This will serve as the foundation for all other details needed to complete this magical setting. First you need to decide on the amount of containers you wish to set up. Make sure to pick out bigger sized pots so you would be able to add more details. Make use of old and broken pots and turn them into fairytale houses.
The second thing you need to consider is your own choice of potting mix. This should include various choices of tiny rocks and stones, adequate type of soil and other elements such as activated carbon that will help clean and filter the water that does not get absorbed. You can also add different details like beads or pearls just to add a bit of charisma to it. Add a bit of dazzle and allure and make your trendy garden setting.
The best solution when it comes to choosing suitable plants for your magical fairy garden is making your choice diverse. The more the merrier they say. This way you will be able to create an enchanting surrounding for all the magical beings residing there. Go crazy with color and size of plants. The only thing you should keep in mind is to pick out plants that have the same growing requirements and that will grow well in your climate and area. Do not be afraid to experiment with different plant life so you would be able to design your own fairy oasis.
The last but certainly the most exciting part of the project is adding details and decoration according to your personal affinities and liking. Fairy figures, bird houses, stone paths and mushroom homes are only the beginning. Make sure to enter your own world of imagination and create a setting where everything is possible. Think of the most impressionable design ideas and use them in your miniature fairytale gardens. Miniature sculptures and figures accompanied by small details like windmills, benches, different lights and similar are also a great idea. There are no rules when it comes to decoration. It should reflect your own world of fantasy and imagery.
It does not matter if you are an adult and have your regular every day routines. We all are still part children who believe in magic and fairy tales. So every time you need to escape from your difficulties you can find shelter and comfort by visiting your magical friends. It is the perfect opportunity to relive your favorite childhood moments and become carefree and lighthearted even just for a brief period of time.
Author’s Bio: Lana Hawkins is a student of architecture and a crafty girl from Sydney, Australia. She enjoys writing about landscaping and garden décor and she is especially interested in green building. Amazing gardens created by landscape design company from Sydney inspired her to write this article. Lana loves spending her free time cooking for her friends.
Meet a Maker: Mark Moffett and the Fantastical Art Car
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!
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!
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.
We love the pictures that 23rd Studios took of Rocky Mountain STEAMFest 2015! Want to see the album? Check it out!
23rd Studios located in Boulder Colorado works in Video Production, Photography, Web Design, Development and Branding. We offer full scale video production including Ariel Videography and Photography, no project is too small or big.
Who is your target customer?
We work with clients from Mom and Pop shops to Fortune companies, our services, expertise and equipment has us set up for any type of work.
You have very generously supported us for our events. Why is it important to you to support events like STEAM Fest?
Advancements in STEAM are important to the growth of our economy and the evolution of kids in the coming years. It is important to engage young minds by letting them work with their minds, hands and encouraging them to create. Not only is this important for kids to get expose to but important for parents to be open to letting their kids explore these avenues and not be so traditional in their education path. 23rd Studios believes that not everyone is destined for college and supporting young adults in figuring that out now is an important part of guiding them to a successful future.
What else do you want our readers to know?
We are highly interested in technology so working with 23rd Studios gives your company a head start sense we already engaged in the dialogue and conversations around what technology companies need and the stories they tell.
How did your company get started and why?
23rd Studios got started out of the need to offer high quality services for companies of all sizes. We believe that companies should not have to choose between needs for their business and what they need to survive. That is why 23rd Studios has a sliding scale based on the size of you business.
Where do you see your company if five years?
I can tell you that we have many hopes and dreams, but truly there is no way to predict where we will be. We will still be in business doing great work for many companies in Colorado and around the country, that is about all we can say about our future.
What is your best advice to a young entrepreneur who wants to start a company like you?
The best advice we can give is do good work and you will always be well received in the community and always remember that giving first and making a good name for yourself and your company is more important than not making it anywhere.
My name is Tenaya Hurst and I am a Rogue Maker. I teach sewing, soldering, and programming electronics all around the world. It is my honor to help support the community of Boulder Colorado with this year’s STEAMfest. I teach workshops in schools, libraries, scout troops, conferences, birthday parties, and more. I have seen first hand the importance of STEAM and the maker movement to education. When a child has a traditional learning experience with books, essays, presentations, and tests, it’s important to also incorporate some hands on learning. STEAM is a way to constantly keep these important subjects present in the minds of the students. But why?
Team work. When we make, we learn how to work in a group. Make your ideas heard, listen to your teammates, and collaborate to the best creation. These are essential skills I missed in school. Whenever a group project was announced, I dreaded it because I was conditioned that only my individual merits mattered. Now that I’m in the maker movement and see the intelligent advancement of kids half my age, I see how those team efforts really pay off in creating more prepared people for our society. Even if a child becomes a lawyer or a doctor instead of an engineer or designer, that’s okay by me! The experience of creating an Arduino robot, sewing an electronic circuit, prototyping with paper circuits, or mastering the art of soldering – makes you a better person! You learn that failure is just part of the process instead of a devastating end to your creativity.
My favorite activity to teach is wearable technology, sewing with conductive thread. I find it is the best activity to combine everything in STEAM.
Technology – we’re learning that Lilypad Arduino and other hardware can be sewn into clothing and circuits can be created to help our daily lives and join the Internet of Things movement.
Engineering – there’s a lot of planning to make sure your circuit functions reliably and testing to try to find failures and solve them.
Art – the overall design and intention of a wearable tech project is the ultimate artistic expression because we’re going to wear it!
And Math…. I definitely wanted to incorporate math, but wasn’t sure how…and then I started using different colors of LEDs and discovered forward voltage! My students examine the data sheets of the Lilypad LEDs and compare the values. We can then calculate how much voltage (how many batteries) we’ll need to illuminate our desired combination of LEDs. I could make it easy on my students and always give out white LEDs, but it’s so much more fun to allow a struggle and give them an electrical/math equation as the solution to find…the solution!
My grandpa grew up in the great depression. From an early age, he was fascinated with the way the world worked and emerging technologies. He found wires in the streets of Chicago (from the first installation of electricity), took any small jobs he could around he neighborhood to learn skills, installed a doorbell at his house, accepted hand-me down tools, started a photography lab in his basement and even accepted a broken printing press to fix and use. He didn’t let his economic status hold him back from making. With the materials, kits, microcontrollers, and resources available today at relatively low cost, he would be proud that America is going back to a state of empowerment, WE can make things ourselves; we have value in our individual and collective innovation. My grandpa eventually achieved a degree in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern and was awarded both Tau Beta Pi and Eta Kappa Nu. He is my hero and I hope he’ d be proud of me, bringing electrical engineering to students in a new and emerging way with wearable technology.
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 professor 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.
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