The Future of Virtual Reality

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You’re soaring in the sky as a golden eagle. Strapped into mechanical wings, you experience the true bird-eye-view of New York City.

For all intents and purposes, virtual reality is booming in its current arena of possibilities. It has so far been seen as trips after trips into another world where many things are possible with no consequences. VR currently has its fingers in so many pies that it is impossible to determine its future. The University of British Columbia in Vancouver is experimenting with virtual lecture halls. In the Allianz stadium in Turin, Italy, Juventus fans can use VR headsets to play a mini soccer game with the Juve team.

There are, however, more productive uses of VR in unexpected fields. In China, drug rehabilitation clinics are using VR software to show addicts the graphic physical and mental harm drugs can cause. Similarly, VR software can be reclaimed to ease patient pain and anxiety during surgical procedures, and mental health facilities employ VR to assist mental health patients with recovery.

Are there no limits to what we can achieve with future VR technology? Though VR has the ability to connect people across continents and express powerful, emotional experiences in more-immersive ways than ever before, those bulky headsets simply aren't going to immerse entire communities of people in the same way laptops or phones have.

Except for Samsung — which uses mobile phones — VR experiences also require a motley of high-end equipment. VR lacks elegance, and this factor likely keeps out major technology manufacturers such as Apple from pursuing it yet. Accessibility of VR is important to negotiate if fields other than gaming and entertainment are to employ it in the future.

One thing’s for certain: VR will change how we see the world and how we learn. In taking people to places they’ve never been before, VR reconciles visual, tactile and auditory learners alike. If we’re ambitious, we can even begin catering to the rest of the senses — temperature, smells, tastes — and truly revamp the virtual experience.

Summer Expeditions: BLAZE STEM Summer Camp Highlights, Pt. 1

 3D modeling & printing

3D modeling & printing

What to do with inquisitive kids with summer heat on the rise? The BLAZE STEM summer camp experience is truly one of a kind, as it helps kids with extremely specific interests discover more about their abilities.

 Intro to Photography

Intro to Photography

 

 

 

BLAZE summer camps are not there to teach campers so much as to inspire. We want students to understand how to think rather than what to think, so they can become future problem-solvers with no limits as to the intellectual challenges they may overcome.

 

 

 Human Biology 2.0

Human Biology 2.0

 

For the past three weeks, our BLAZE STEM campers have been hard at work and produced such imaginative final projects! Campers explored 3D modeling and printing, biology, robotics programming, coding, photography and writing with passion and innovation. They also enjoyed getting to know fellow STEM campers after the “Sorting Hat” has sorted them into their respective Hogwarts Houses.

 

 Beginners robotics programming

Beginners robotics programming

Our 3D modeling classes focused on using the design thinking process to prototype and test their own 3D creations. In robotics, campers utilized Wonder Workshop Dash-n-dot robotics to solve puzzles and complete challenges. In photography classes, students learned basic photography principles and created their own photo stories. Some campers even created their own virtual reality in which they told stories using their own characters.

 

Scroll on to see some of the stunning final projects our campers presented!

 3D modeling & printing

3D modeling & printing

 3D modeling & printing

3D modeling & printing

 3D modeling & printing

3D modeling & printing

 Human Biology 2.0

Human Biology 2.0

 Proud of our first rounds of campers!

Proud of our first rounds of campers!

Harry Potter and The Rise of Automated Creativity

Harry Potter and The Rise of Automated Creativity

If we read the latest bot-ploy — predicative keyboards penning an entirely new, nonsensical chapter of Harry Potter than nonetheless imitates J.K. Rowling’s syntax down to a T — we can’t help but wonder when AI will automate even fine art majors out of a job.

The Soft Skills Employers Yearn for in College Grads

According to PayScale, Inc. and Future Workplace, almost half of managers surveyed perceived that their employees recently graduated from college were well-prepared for the workforce. These are the top four skills students should focus on improving.

1. In business writing, brevity is key when communicating via email with co-workers, managers, clients, and customers. This differentiation between writing papers in college and business writing lies with a misunderstanding of message. You are always writing for your audience. Messages should focus around the needs of the readers, wants and priorities. The best way to resolve this is to speak through the five w's: who, what, were, when, and why.

2. Fear of public speaking is estimated to affect 75% of the population of America. This is the second ranked sill employers are disappointed in. Public speaking goes beyond presenting to a large audience. It is more commonly seen during meetings. If public speaking gives you nerves a jolt, making key points to speak about can be a useful technique, since we are more likely to forget a speech wrote word for word. Create reference points to bullet key information in your talk. Giving special attention to the start and the end of your talk. Those are the points your audience is most likely to remember.

3. Being information literate is the third skill managers found lacking. You will need to have the ability to break down and understand data using software like Excel, Tableau, or Python. Data has an influence on every role in an organization, from marketing to customer service. You may need to take initiative to find the bounty of free online resources and create a personal project to develop these skills.

4. Roughly 60 percent of employers said that critical thinking and problem solving skills were the number one soft skills needing improvement among recent college grads. The way one handles a crisis or responds to a conflict could be a metric of these skills. Seeing as most recently graduated students aren't as experienced at handling business scenarios, they should look for guidance. Not all problems have a clear intuitive path to a solution. Finding a mentor and inquiring for solutions to the situations handled in the past may guide to creating your own step by step resolutions.

Maintaining the mindset of a life-long learner and continuing to update skills and learn new skills throughout your career.

3D Printing, The Limitless Technology.

The applications with 3D printing are limitless. From doctors & dentists to students & designers, being used in small scale manufacturing to small business.

From its inception in 1984, a time when only sizable companies could afford a 3D printer, growth in additive manufacturing has exploded. The uses for 3D printing today are continually creating new opportunities in almost every industry.

The adaptability of 3D printing is evident in the variety of ways they’re used today. In the medical field alone has practitioners have a number of uses. Surgeons can plan operations by reviewing 3D printed replicas of a physical problem being operated. This method of preparation allows surgeons to gather a better idea of what the surgery entails. Printed models have also been a cost effective way for medical schools to have students study human anatomy. Increasingly popular movement is prosthetic limbs being developed by way of 3D printing – bringing functional prosthesis to entire communities that would otherwise not be able to afford or access the care they need.

Regardless of the specific application, 3D printers offer what no other type of manufacturing process has been capable. Rapid turnaround times, placing physical results in a users hands and bringing to life a digital concept.  This will allow 3D printing to  be used for an ever growing number of tasks, similar to the last two decades of growth in personal computers. Imagine a third world village printing vital medical equipment on demand. Aid workers never being without the specific supplies they need, a result of carrying portable 3D printers with them into combat zones and disaster areas. Imagine hospitals being able to print organs on demand instead of waiting for a donor. 3D printers have virtually limitless potential as the technology driving them improves.

Designer Challenge - 3D printed puzzles

Design Brief

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It's time to get creative! What puzzle ideas do you have? Have you ever wanted to bring to life your own puzzle idea? If so now is your time to shine.

I'm excited to announce the first Blaze design challenge! For this challenge the theme is puzzles! Puzzles have been around for centuries as a simple way to entertain ourselves, but how can we take them to the next level with 3D printing?

Try your hand at creating your own sliding puzzle, maze, or puzzle cube during our Maker track every Monday and Wednesday. The 3D puzzle can be anything you like. Something new or a remix of a current design. Designs must be made in TinkerCAD and have the ability to print on an FDM 3D printer.

We will be judging student submissions on June 18th. The more creative the better!


Designer Resources

In need of some inspiration? Check out these puzzles to kick start your creativity!


Tips

1. Check out our Maker classes every Monday & Wednesday for assistance from an instructor.
2. Have a look at the end result to know what you are building.
3. Reinforce breakage areas.
4. Make sure to be careful and precise when designing.
5. Keep working, even outside of class times.