Written by Lucia Valente, Founder CCN
I am most definitely not a scientist nor a physicist! Yet, I love reading about science and physics. For years I read The Economic and specifically the science and technology sections. When I lived in Toronto, for years I listened to CBC radio ‘Quirk and Quarks’ with Bob McDonald. I reveled in the emergence of new concepts and discoveries.
About 20 years ago I listened to a segment about 3D printing. At the time, this new technology was developed at MIT and was considered to be leading-edge and required many more years of R & D. At the time, I could not get my mind around this new concept. How could we print 3D? – it was such a strange concept.
About 10 years later, I saw several magazines had models of 3D violins!! I got it! I am a visual person, so now I understood what was meant by 3D printing. I began to think of all of the applications of such technology.
There are so many possibilities for this technology. We will migrate from a society of mass production to one of mass customization. Designers can sell unique designs online and people can go to a 3D print shop to have the design printed to their specifications.
In a way, we have come full circle from the customized work of artisans of the pre-industrial revolution to mass production of the industrial revolution to mass customization of the technological age.
On the other end of design – when people go to Mars and stay there – the dwellings will be 3D printed!
3D printing is definitely a ‘game-changer’ and we have only begun to tease out its application in real life environments.
One of the projects CCN has researched, is designing and printing prosthetics on 3D printers. Our goal is to make prosthetics – of high quality and fit – available at reasonable cost. Currently most prosthetics are very expensive or painful to wear. Unless, of course, one can afford to pay a huge amount of money to get regular re-fittings. For most people, this is not viable – way too expensive. It’s still a dream of ours – and we will do it!!
Aligned to our mission in education, currently we are working with a toy company to provide 3D print versions of some of their toys and toy components– a different way for kids to interact with their toys and learn about new technologies at the same time. The 3D printing is linked to CCN’s STEM educational modules. Our strategy is to create an integrated continuum between toys, technology and learning.
At CCN, we believe strongly in encouraging young people to learn in a safe and encouraging environment. When the learning environment
Is easy to access
The learning is relevant
The content is enticing
Linked to their play time – their toys
And most importantly, introduces complex topics
That are interesting and engaging
Think about how this approach to education can position and prepare kids to be open and receptive to continued learning of complex concepts – – because they will believe that they can.
With the trend in the toy industry, of linking toys to STEM learning, CCN is well-positioned to accelerate this direction into reality.