Dream, Design, DO!
Dates: July 18-29, 2016
“Dreams don’t work unless you do,” so let’s take action! In this course, we will teach how engineers, scientists and corporations identify problems and successfully solve them by mirroring a standard college level product development course. We will begin with a focus on “The Big Picture” through games oriented at problem solving and team building. We will discuss case studies from around the world to gain an understanding of what makes a successful product. We will also visit a number of local engineering marvels and hear how they were created from simple dreams. During the first part of the course, the students will be encouraged to take notes, ask questions and identify needs in their local market and surroundings.
Students will then break into small teams and apply the skills and perspectives they learn to identify a need in their local community, innovate several possible solution, refine their designs and engineer a technical solution using the Arduino microcomputer and software platform. Students will prototype functional ‘acts like’ models with their own (course provided) Arduino microcomputer, as well as aesthetic ‘looks like’ models to use when pitching their products for the final presentation. (No prior programming skills are necessary, only a desire to learn and do is required.)
In addition to learning the skills necessary for the development of the team based products, time will be allotted each day for students to experiment with new electronic devices, sensors and coding. The instructors are excited to guide students through any sticky problems they encounter, helping them learn how they can solve their next query independently. To encourage this, students will have the opportunity to earn extra electronic gizmos to take home (along with their Arduino computer) by individually demonstrating how they function and that they can write software that interfaces with them for use in future entrepreneurial activity. Through hands-on learning, students will develop practical computer science and electrical engineering skills to bring their creations to life. Going beyond the principles of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, ART and Math), you will learn how to understand problems, propose solutions and create effective results. You will walk away from this course with skills, tricks and tools that you will use and refine throughout your lifetime.
Sara Falcone is currently a Mechanical Engineer for Global Good designing, manufacturing and implementing technologies to improve world health. She has worked on many products intended for off-grid, rugged conditions, including the Leveraged Freedom Chair an off-road wheelchair intended for the developing world. After working on the factory floor in India she wrote a thesis on the production, for which she holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). During the summer of 2014 she worked manufacturing solar panel hardware in Shenzhen, China and installing panels for off-grid families in the rural Philippines. Most notably, however, Sara attended ASRA in 2008, where she was initially inspired to pursue a career in Engineering. Since ASRA she has continued her passion for building things and helped spread excitement for STEAM fields teaching various outreach courses.
Charles Olszewski has over 30 years of engineering and executive management experience in the power and communications industries. As a registered Professional Engineer, Charles has managed a diverse portfolio of multi-million dollar projects in fossil and nuclear power generation and has led software development projects for power plant simulators, nuclear safety systems as well as advanced marketing communications systems. As a child, Charles was inspired by the engineering marvels developed during the race to the moon in the 1960's and driven by the challenges posed by the energy crisis of the early 1970's. Charles obtained an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Mechanical Engineering specializing in thermodynamics. As a strong believer in continuing education, Charles holds advanced degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marquette University in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Biomedical Engineering. As the Chief Technology Officer for an alternative energy corporation, Charles is overseeing the deployment of advanced thermal-plasma based gasification technology that will turn common household trash into renewable base-load electric power. The negative carbon footprint power plant will completely vaporize the waste generated by a city of 700,000 people while providing all the electric power needs for 48,000 households. Charles spends much of his free time keeping current on the latest microcontroller technologies and building home automation projects. Charles will encourage students to pursue careers in science and technology by showing them many potential pathways.