John is a founder of Reach Robotics, he volunteered for a day with 14 year olds at Bristol Technology & Engineering Academy helping a small team of students design and builld radio controlled aeroplanes. A great experience for him and the students. Mindful that he could do more and that his time for volunteering is limited, running a fast expanding business, he invited us in to see what happens at Reach Robotics.
Folowing the meet up, Reach Robotics are offering quick tours for small groups of students to an their exciting work place where mechanical toys and augmented reality become big business.
Reach have donated two Mekamon Robots for demo applications in our Cranes and hydraulics workshops and booked in My Future My Choice for a staff away day to explore some low-tech ways of playing and learning that will help develop our resources. John and maybe some of his 35 string team will also get involved in our cosultations to help helping us design new cards for our Jobs Top Trump Game - which needs more examples of emerging and possibly as yet unknown job roles like the jobs at Reach Robotics.
Phil joined in with a project funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering at the Bristol Museum. Training sessions with scientists and engineers pooled ideas for delivery of public and schools STEM workshops in 2011. Phil went away and applied his practical skills, scientific knowledge and experience as a mechanical engineer designing hydraulic systems for helicopters to create resources for interactive learning.
A series of demonstrations using syringes and tubing showed how pressures could be used to actuate machines and generate power. Teachers reported that children not known fro their mathematical ability where understanding and explaining ratios and fractions after handling the devices.
Phil kindly donated the resources and his ideas for use in future workshops . He acted as consultant to the next phase of the development of Cranes and Hydraulic resources that has seen a much wider use of his input. (See #ROMyE Glyn Griffith below)
The Museum of Bath at Work hosted a group of engineers and challenged them with the task of turning Phil Rowles' (see above) ideas for learning about mechanical advantage into resource that could be replicated to engage much larger groups. Glyn went away from this workshop fired up to complete and finish the development of a viable product. He has since got a job where he must see unique inventive ideas through to production and he claims that talking about the development of this learning resource at interview was part of the reason he got his job.
Glyn produced prototypes in MDF using technology at his university and Glyn and MFMC ran a series of workshops with schools, engaging other engineers and crane companies in the workshop. These workshops were a huge success and the availability of the mass produced parts gives clear evidence that he has made a powerful tool for learning.
The draw back was the cost and the use of MDF which although safe to handle was not as environmentally friendly as we would like. Glyn was by now being paid for delivery of school workshops and he took on the challenge of redesigning the resources so they could be punched out of cardboard. This resource has since been used with thousands of young people of all ages and new workshop ideas have been created off the back of the design that throw unique lifting and access challenges at older students
Support from businesses like Liebherr, European leaders in crane design and manufacturing have been crucial and Edward Hudson from Lieberr has seen the value in using this resource to challenge the annual intake of Liebherr Mechanical Engineering Apprentices to work with teams of school students to reach out their experience to a younger generation of potential engineers.