News & Events to Inspire STEAM Education

GREEN

Breaking the Electrode Barrier: New Low-Cost Organic Solar Cells

Posted by on Sep 29, 2014

Now that global climate changed has been scientifically proven to be a present and future problem, researchers and companies alike are working all over all the world to come up...

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INNOVATE

23b and MAG Lab members at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014

While at IEMMF, we stumbled across a couple of hackers in the midst of the evolving maker movement. They were sitting at the 23b tent, which is a heavy industrial hackerspace that...

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TECHNOLOGY

STEAM Gala Preview for Upcoming STEAM Carnival for Kids Oct. 25-26

Posted by on Oct 23, 2014

Kicking off mid week was the STEAM Gala hosted at the Crafted at the Port of Los angeles for a sneak preview of the upcoming STEAM Carnival by Two Bit Circus Oct. 25-26. The...

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SCIENCE

Broccoli Compound Reduces Autism Behaviors

Posted by on Oct 21, 2014

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disease that affects approximately 1 out of every 68, and occurs mostly in males. It is characterized by an impairment of social communication, as...

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Recent Posts

STEAM Gala Preview for Upcoming STEAM Carnival for Kids Oct. 25-26

STEAM Gala Preview for Upcoming STEAM Carnival for Kids Oct. 25-26

Oct 23, 2014

Kicking off mid week was the STEAM Gala hosted at the Crafted at the Port of Los angeles for a sneak preview of the upcoming STEAM Carnival by Two Bit Circus Oct. 25-26. The evening was a celebration to inspire the next generation of great minds. The STEAM Gala brought together community leaders, elected officials, top innovators, and business professionals in support for science, technology, engineering, art and math – STEAM education focused on K-12 STEAM-based programs. It was a spectacular night from aerial performers, games, amazing metal art sculptures, live music and awards presented to eBay CMO Richelle Parham for STEAM Leadership and engineering doctoral student Albert Manero and Limbitless Team for Innovation. QGITS caught up with CTO and co-founder Eric Gradman of Two Bit Circus at the STEAM Gala about the upcoming STEAM Carnival event this weekend.

QGITS: What is STEAM Carnival?

Eric Gradman: STEAM Carnival is our opportunity to inspire everyone with what we do which is science, technology, engineering, arts and math. We have what we consider to be the most fun jobs in the world, we get to make amazing things and we want to give everybody else the opportunity to do that too. When you walk into to STEAM Carnival we want you to say “Wow!” and when you walk out we want you to say “Aha!” We want you to learn something, to be inspired by what it means to create and to invent, to make amazing things because that’s what this world needs..more amazing things.

Two Bit Circus
In photo (left): CTO and co-founder – Eric Gradman, Event Producer – Molly Waseka and CEO Brent Bushnell.

“We want kids to leave inspired. The most important thing is that they leave with a smile on their face and the next time someone talks about electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software, science or chemistry. They can say I saw that in action at the STEAM Carnival, let me tell you more.” - CTO and co-founder Eric Gradman of Two Bit Circus

STEAM Carnival – October 25-26, 11am-7pm
Located at the CRAFTED at The Port of LA
Purchase Tickets Here

STEAM Carnival
www.steamcarnival.com

23b and MAG Lab members at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

23b and MAG Lab members at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

Oct 22, 2014

While at IEMMF, we stumbled across a couple of hackers in the midst of the evolving maker movement. They were sitting at the 23b tent, which is a heavy industrial hackerspace that focuses on the mechanical arts. This means there’s a lot welding, machining, fabricating, and making of circuit boards that is done at their warehouse. Not only that, but they like to open the space occasionally for nights of lock picking as well.One of the guys that runs the space is named Chris and is an active influencer in the local hacker community. He spotted us in the crowd and promptly told us the exciting tales of his recent DefCon conference trip that occurred in Las Vegas a few months before. Eventually, we got to talking with him and another hackerspace owner named Trent about the maker movement and how it is taking off like a wild fire.

Watch the video with Chris and Trent to learn more:

As we chatted, it became clear that public awareness is being stirred up with the help of events like the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire. These large meetups, along with the open access of tools at places like makerspaces and hackerspaces, are showing people that they can practically create whatever they want.

Like Chris says in the video, people are starting to see items including 3D printers and laser cutters in their everyday life. Practically every newspaper and online media now a days is continuously publishing stories about these type of high-tech machines and what they can be used for. The word is getting out, and environments like makerspaces and hackerspaces are appearing on people’s radars. This has produced the need for places like 23b and Mag Lab. The demand for these types of coworking workshops is reaching a high enough level where diversity between spaces is starting to form. Each spot now has their own unique community, its own special feel, and its own variety of tools. Still, the most encouraging aspect here is that people are finally getting to know more about the maker movement through events like this.

Broccoli Compound Reduces Autism Behaviors

Broccoli Compound Reduces Autism Behaviors

Oct 21, 2014

broccoli

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disease that affects approximately 1 out of every 68, and occurs mostly in males. It is characterized by an impairment of social communication, as well as repetitive behaviors (such as rocking) and difficulties with language. Up until this point there is no known cure for autism.

Researchers Sing et al at Harvard medical school have found a potential candidate for a new drug—derived from broccoli sprouts. Sulforaphane is a chemical compound found in cruciferous plants such as broccoli and cabbage. It was chosen for the study for several reasons, one of which being low toxicity because it is derived from a food source.

During metabolism, or the transformation of one chemical to another in a living cell, reactive oxygen species such as free radicals are produced. These reactive oxygen species can cause damage known as oxidative stress.  Sulforaphane counteracts this by turning on genes to protect cells from damage. It also turns on genes that protect against DNA damage and neuroinflammation. Oxidative stress, DNA damage and neuroinflammation are all associated with Austism Spectrum Disorder. This is one of the first studies that addresses these problems as a potential pathway for treatment.

brain

In this pilot study 22 male participants were treated for 18 weeks with either sulforaphane or a placebo, and then evaluated by both caregivers and physicians for behavioral changes. A placebo is a non-active compound given to compare with the effectiveness of the drug. They found that irritability, lethargy and hyperactivity were improved among those who were treated with sulforaphane. Repetitive movements, also known as stereotypy, were also reduced. Behavior was measured 4 weeks after stopping treatment, and the participants reverted to their usual behaviors, suggesting that the changes were in fact from treatment with the compound.

CEO Brian Arandez of Thingify 3D Printing at Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

CEO Brian Arandez of Thingify 3D Printing at Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

Oct 19, 2014

CEO Brian Arandez of Thingify Inc. and his team recently attended the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire at Vocademy Makerspace in Riverside, Ca. Thingify a product development company offers 3D printing services to help take your concept idea and translate it to a working 3D model that is 3D print ready. They promote innovation by helping anyone to express their ideas in 3D that enables them to shape their ideas from “Think Tank to Thing Tank.” Thingify attended the 1st-ever Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire in celebration for what makers do — what they make, how they make it and the enthusiasm and passion that drives them. At the event Embedded Hardware & Software Engineer Arman Bastani spoke with Brian Arandez from Thingify a bit more about the different additive manufacturing 3D printing technologies and client artwork showcased at the IE Mini Maker Faire.

thingify

www.thingify.net

SoCal MakerCon at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

SoCal MakerCon at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

Oct 17, 2014

SoCal MakerCon was recently at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire at Vocademy Makerspace in Riverside, Ca. Just like Vocademy and the IE Mini Maker Faire – they all share a common belief in celebrating inventiveness, innovation, creativity, resourcefulness and the celebration of the emerging Maker Movement. SoCal MakerCon is an up and coming event on November 8th at the Los Angeles Fairplex,that is inspired by the Maker movement. The Maker Movement is the future of how innovation and invention will occur and empowering people all over the world to collaborate and take initiative on their own ideas. See full list of speakers, exhibitors and demos at SoCal MakerCon. Also watch video interview with Matt Terndrup technology and art journalist talking with Aaron Berg, Event Manager of SoCal MakerCon from recently held Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire in Riverside, Ca.

socal-maker-con-12 (1)

www.socalmakercon.com/

CEO Brent Bushnell of Two Bit Circus at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

CEO Brent  Bushnell of Two Bit Circus at the Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

Oct 14, 2014

A lifelong engineer and entrepreneur CEO Brent Bushnell of Two Bit Circus a high tech circus attended the recently held 1st-ever Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire at Vocademy Makerspace in Riverside, Ca. Two Bit Circus engineers entertainment that is imaginative and interactive, blurring the line between physical and digital playgrounds to create a new world of social amusement. They have developed various experiential entertainment platforms like the STEAM Carnival that is a modern take on the traveling circus, using high-tech amusement and project-based kits to inspire kids of all ages about science, technology, engineering, art and math. See video interview by Matt Terndrup, technology & art journalist talking with Brent Bushnell while at the IE Mini Maker Faire event .

Two bit circus

www.twobitcircus.com

Gene Sherman Founder of Vocademy & Organizer of 1st-Ever Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

Gene Sherman Founder of Vocademy & Organizer of 1st-Ever Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire

Oct 13, 2014

Gene Sherman the Founder & Organizer of Vocademy Makerspace recently held the 1st-Ever Inland Empire Mini Maker Faire at his facility Oct. 4th in Riverside, Ca. The IE Mini Maker Faire is a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and a celebration of local maker culture. What a perfect place for the event to be held at Vocademy as they are the place where people come together to learn new hands on skills, a place to take an idea to create new innovative things and a place that wants to help create a “community of makers.” At the IE Maker Faire there were atleast a 100 different makers & exhibitors displaying projects from LED light displays, 3d printing & printers, electric vehicles, lots of robots, a cool Batmobile, even an electric giraffe that has visited the white house. View the full list of makers that attended this year’s 1st Mini Maker Faire in the Inland Empire. Also check out this video with Anil Pattni from OCHackerz who spoke with Gene Sherman at the maker faire located at Vocademy Makerspace.


iemmf-flyer-w-riverside-logo

Vocademy

www.vocademy.com

RapidTech 3D Printing at Garden Grove Library STEM Innovation Lounge

RapidTech 3D Printing at Garden Grove Library STEM Innovation Lounge

Oct 5, 2014

RapidTech is the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for the development and advancement of Additive Manufacturing (AM) 3D printing and related technologies. RapidTech is in the UC Irvine Engineering building and has been teaching students advanced manufacturing techniques, promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers and providing national training workshops targeting educators. Director Ed Tackett and Engineering Director Benjamin Dolan of RapidTech both recently gave a presentation and demo on 3D printing to Garden Grove High School students at the Garden Grove Library Innovation STEM Lounge. Check out video from the event by RapidTech, as Ben and Ed talk about “What is 3D printing?” and 3D laser scan a student.

Here is more information on 3D printing by RapidTech: Click here for presentation slides.

rapidtech
ucirvine_01

First of its Kind–a Blood Test for Depression?

First of its Kind–a Blood Test for Depression?

Sep 30, 2014

depression

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. It is a debilitating illness characterized by loss of energy, lack of pleasure in life and potentially suicidal thoughts. Diagnosis of this sickness is often done by family physicians, and is based on the patient’s reports of their symptoms. The problem with this system is that patients often under-report symptoms so diagnosis is difficult. Fortunately there may be another way.

 

A recent study in Nature published by Dr. EE Redei et al at Northwestern University in Chicago Illinois suggests that depression has biomarkers, or parameters that are measurable, in the blood stream. Before DNA gets translated into protein, it first gets converted into RNA transcripts. This is what they used for biomarkers—they extracted RNA from the blood of patients with and without Major Depressive Disorder and looked for differences. They found three markers that differed between those who were sick and those who were not.

Blood-test-tube

Besides antidepressants, a common treatment for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy. Excitingly enough, they found transcript differences between those who improved from the therapy and those who did not. This indicates that the markers may be a measurable parameter of the severity of the illness. This means the blood test could be used to determine if treatment is working.

 

Having a blood test to diagnose depression is a huge step forward in the treatment of mental illness. If we could develop tests that catch these illnesses before they manifest themselves fully we could treat them before they get out of hand and the patients require hospitalization. This would keep healthcare costs down and improve the quality of life for many people.

Breaking the Electrode Barrier: New Low-Cost Organic Solar Cells

Breaking the Electrode Barrier: New Low-Cost Organic Solar Cells

Sep 29, 2014

Now that global climate changed has been scientifically proven to be a present and future problem, researchers and companies alike are working all over all the world to come up with more efficient solutions to this inevitable fate. One of the main focuses has been to create more affordable solar cells so that solar power technology can become more accessible to the commercial public.  This has been an issue that synthetic chemists and polymer scientists have been working on for decades.

This month, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst released an exciting report stating that they have come up with a more efficient and lightweight, low-cost organic solar cell that is “breaking the electrode barrier” since virtually any metal can be used with it.  One of the main problems with solar power technology is that the power conversion efficiency, that is how much energy from the sun that can actually be harnessed and utilized, has been hindered by the instability and susceptibility to oxidation that normal metal electrodes commonly face.

“The sun produces 7,000 times more energy per day than we can use, but we can’t harness it well. One reason is the trade-off between oxidative stability and the work function of the metal cathode,” explains UMass Amherst’s Thomas Russell, professor of polymer science and engineering.  When choosing a metal for use as an electrode, scientists always have to compensate with the trade-off.  More stable metals that don’t degrade in the presence of water and oxygen have high work function but do not allow for good electron-transport.  The metals that have high electron-transport eventually degrade over time and will therefore slowly become less conductive.

“People have thought you’d need to use tricks to help electrons, the water in the lock, over an obstacle, the electrode, like a dam. Tricks like sawing the dam apart to allow the flow. But tricks are always messy, introducing a lot of stuff you don’t need,” says Russell. “The beauty of the solution reached by these synthetic chemists is to just move the dam out of the way, electronically move it so there is no longer a difference in energy level.”

This has been a challenge that was unmet and was therefore the goal that was accomplished by the research team at UMass Amherst.

To read the specifics about just how this research team was able to create these new low-cost organic solar cells, check out the following links:

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Science Daily