St. Kenny’s National school Mullingar participating in the ‘Shaping your future’ programme which is a joint project facilitated by Irish Manufacturing Research and I-Form Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. This outreach programme is funded by Science Foundation Ireland with the objective to inspire primary school, secondary school and transition year students as well as their teachers. IMR and I-Form have worked closely together to create a multi-faceted manufacturing experience for the students including 3D printing, AR/VR and Collaborative Robotics. The programme which is being offered to selected schools in the Midlands, aims to promote STEM careers by allowing students to interact with scientists, engineers and researchers to gain insight into possible careers in their future. ‘Shaping your future’ aims to promote and support STEM education by broadening teacher’s views and encouraging them to introduce 3D printing in their classroom. By introducing this hands-on experience, they encourage the design thinking process by creating innovative challenges that will help the manufacturing industry continue to prosper in the future.
IMR staff equipping the children with necessary stationary before their exhibition begins. They were given paper booklets to write down the name and job title of each IMR staff and their station.
IMR’s Sean McConnell explained to the pupils how 3D printing has become more accessible to both consumers and students as opposed to manufacturing professionals. He introduced the concept that 3D printing can make new ideas a reality at a cheaper cost than ever before.
The primary school children engaged well with Sean’s 3D printing equipment. He explained 3D printing and its functions in an every-day context so the children could grasp the whole concept wholesomely. They were both inquisitive and intrigued in his role within the industry.
Sabine demonstrated to the students, how collaborative robotics aid the production industry. She manoeuvred the robotic arm to adjust and re-adjust the orange cubes multiple times. Sabine encouraged the children to think creatively when asking them how the collaborative robot could assist them in everyday life.
Pupils from each group were selected to engage in a hands-on experience using the collaborative robot. Sabine guided them when using the computerised panel to show them how to move the robot.
When asked, one of the students said that this was their first time experiencing the use of a real, functioning robot and having primary access to all the robot’s features. How exciting!
Sam Del Greco presented AR to the pupils. Whilst wearing the headset, each student entered an augmented reality that superimposed a computerised generated image, that users without the headset could only see on the screen of a laptop. The user could work in real time picking up blocks by using the AR equipment.
The equipment consisted of an AR headset that replaced full front vision with a computerised screen. A handset was also used to pick up different computer-generated objects.
The students were very excited by Sam’s AR experience. While each student was given the chance to use the headset, the majority said they have participated in AR/VR before through video games. However, they still appeared mesmerized when they put on the headset, and questioned Sam on all aspects of the escapade. It’s safe to say AR/VR was a winner all round. Well done Sam!
Motorised ArtBot Robot
Andrew and Isabel together, created the idea of a motorised robot that the students would assemble in teams. When fully constructed, the ArtBot would spin around a sheet of paper creating different designs in artistic colours.
The students followed the instructions above, which were displayed on the wall with a projector. Isabel and Andrew guided them to ensure all their ArtBots were assembled correctly and ready for use.
The ArtBot was a great success. The students were able to work together as a team and use their initiative to be as creative as possible. They all enjoyed the exercise as they watched their own personalised robots come to life.
The children were fascinated by the equipment on display and had lots of questions for the IMR staff.
At the end of the day, the students were presented with a challenging assignment. In their groups, they were presented with a ‘Mystery bag’.
Sylvia Leatham from I-Form gave the students clearly guided instructions on how to fulfil the task.
Some of the students opening their mystery bag. They were all ardent about completing the task.
The children were able to show off their creativity as a team. They thoroughly enjoyed working in groups and had great ideas for constructing their objects.
Pictured; IMR staff Isabel and Andrew, with the pupils from St. Kenny’s National School, Mullingar at the IMR Technology centre in Mullingar as part of the ‘Shaping your future’ programme.