News & Events to Inspire STEAM Education


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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Randa Milliron: Launching Inspiration and Innovation Through Rocket Science

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015

It’s not every day you stumble across a rocket lady, especially one that has a background in television, academia, and electronic music. Randa Milliron, Chief Executive...

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Mind Control Car Racing Game by Emotiv Insight at CES 2015

Posted by on Jan 14, 2015

At the CES Conference last week, Emotiv Insight brainwear exhibited with IEEE an organization dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of...

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Hydrogen Future by Dr. Michio Kaku at Toyota’s Press Conference at CES 2015

Posted by on Jan 7, 2015

Announced this week at the 2015 International CES, Toyota is opening the door to the hydrogen future, making available thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents royalty free. Toyota...

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Randa Milliron: Launching Inspiration and Innovation Through Rocket Science

Randa Milliron: Launching Inspiration and Innovation Through Rocket Science

Jan 23, 2015

It’s not every day you stumble across a rocket lady, especially one that has a background in television, academia, and electronic music.

Randa Milliron, Chief Executive Officer of Interorbital Systems, is exactly that and so much more.  Lucky for us at QGITS and some very special STEM students at Cypress College here in Southern California, we got to hear this woman’s inspirational story as well as get some inside information about her innovative company, Interorbital, which engineers rockets and currently is part of an ambitious team working towards Google Lunar’s X Prize , of which Milliron was a founding member.

To read Randa Milliron’s full bio, click here.

Here is the video of Randa Milliron inspiring STEM students at Cypress College, shot by our very own QGITS founder, Ms. Candice Nunez:

Mind Control Car Racing Game by Emotiv Insight at CES 2015

Mind Control Car Racing Game by Emotiv Insight at CES 2015

Jan 14, 2015

At the CES Conference last week, Emotiv Insight brainwear exhibited with IEEE an organization dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity at the conference in Las Vegas, NV. This year’s theme at the IEEE exhibit is “Thinking Forward” sparking the future of thinking-forward technologies. “Thinking” was the suitable word for the mind controlled car racing game that was demonstrated by Emotiv a bioinformatics company advancing the understanding of the human brain using electroencephalography (EEG). The revolutionary groundbreaking technology by Emotiv showcased their latest product called Insight that is launching April 2015 starting at $299. Consumers at CES were able to try out the headset while using there own brainpower to participate in a car race propelling their car forward with their thoughts. QGITS met and spoke with CEO Geoff Mackellar of Emotiv at CES during the Showstoppers press preview event at the Wynn Hotel in Vegas.

QGITS: What is Emotiv?

Geoff Mackellar: The Emotiv headsets are based on electroencephalography which is basically picking up small electrical signals on the outside of the skull that originate from large number of neurons inside of the skull all firing in sync. The sort of signal that we see inside of the skull are a few volts but when all the neurons start firing together and by putting some electrodes on the outside of the skull on the skin, that can detect micro volts floating on the surface of the head. We made Emotiv Insight consumer friendly that is sleek so that you can move around and act like it’s not there compared to a typical medical EEG system that involves a lot of wires on the head, gel and a couple of hours to set up. We created the next generation of brainwear that reads your brainwaves that can track and monitor your brain activity. It allows you to optimize your brain fitness & performance, measure and monitor your own or your family’s cognitive health & wellbeing connected to a mobile app that translates those signals.


Hydrogen Future by Dr. Michio Kaku at Toyota’s Press Conference at CES 2015

Hydrogen Future by Dr. Michio Kaku at Toyota’s Press Conference at CES 2015

Jan 7, 2015

Announced this week at the 2015 International CES, Toyota is opening the door to the hydrogen future, making available thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents royalty free. Toyota initiative will spur development and introduction of innovative fuel cell technologies around the world. Toyota will invite royalty-free use of approximately 5,680 fuel cell related patents held globally, including critical technologies developed for the new Toyota Mirai. The list includes approximately 1,970 patents related to fuel cell stacks, 290 associated with high-pressure hydrogen tanks, 3,350 related to fuel cell system software control and 70 patents related to hydrogen production and supply. The new Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle was displayed at the press conference at CES and will be available in the US and Europe this year.

At Toyota’s press conference at CES, theoretical physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku discusses a hydrogen future. He is a longtime proponent of hydrogen, in particular, hydrogen fuel cells as a key means to serve the world’s global energy needs and propel society to a more earth-friendly future. QGITS had the opportunity to talk with Kaku after Toyota’s press announcement. See video:

“At Toyota, we believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen,” said Bob Carter, Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations at Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. “The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration between automakers, government regulators, academia and energy providers. By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the development of new technologies and move into the future of mobility more quickly, effectively and economically.”

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The hydrogen fuel cell patents will be made available to automakers who will produce and sell fuel cell vehicles, as well as to fuel cell parts suppliers and energy companies who establish and operate fueling stations, through the initial market introduction period, anticipated to last until 2020. Companies working to develop and introduce fuel cell busses and industrial equipment, such as forklifts, are also covered. Requests from parts suppliers and companies looking to adapt fuel cell technology outside of the transportation sector will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

This week’s announcement covers only fuel cell-related patents wholly owned by Toyota. Patents related to fuel cell vehicles will be available for royalty-free licenses until the end of 2020. Patents for hydrogen production and supply will remain open for an unlimited duration. As part of licensing agreements, Toyota will request, but will not require, that other companies share their fuel cell-related patents with Toyota for similar royalty-free use.

Companies interested in Toyota’s fuel cell-related patents will negotiate individual contracts with Toyota. Additional details, including licensing terms and application process, are available upon request.



“Re:Imagine Garden Grove” 1st Ever Downtown Open Streets 3-Mile Community Event

“Re:Imagine Garden Grove” 1st Ever Downtown Open Streets 3-Mile Community Event

Jan 5, 2015

First time ever “Re:Imagine Garden Grove” downtown open streets event sponsored by the City of Garden Grove in Orange County celebrating community, innovation, diverse cultures, and a healthy lifestyle. The event was a temporary open streets of three mile car-free environment for people to walk, bike, run, skate, play and enjoy in a public space. There was also live entertainment, tasty food and drinks along with fun interactive programs for the whole family that took place in the heart of Downtown Garden Grove like never before. The City partnered with Los Angeles-based Community Arts Resources, Inc. (CARS) to produce the inaugural event. CARS produces L.A.’s CicLAvia open streets event and other acclaimed cultural programs with parallel missions to Re:Imagine Garden Grove.

“The City of Garden Grove started a reimagine downtown website a year before this event. We asked the community to participate in the website and share their ideas on how they would like to see downtown evolve over the short term and next 10 years. The idea came out of our website to reimagine the future of Garden Grove if we could continue on with these improvements so the community could have that feeling in downtown on regular basis..that is the ultimate goal.” – Susan Emery, Community Development Director of City of Garden Grove

QGITS attended Re:Imagine Garden Grove with various partners such as the OC Mini Maker Faire, Deezmaker Hackerspace & 3D printing shop, Mathobotix Robotics and STEAM Powered Education at the Garden Grove Regional Library Innovation area. Check out video to hear from them and see what cool and fun activity they demonstrated at the event to share with the local community in Garden Grove, Ca.

Re:Imagine Garden Grove

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DIY Girls Social Celebrating Access to Innovation at Cross Campus in Santa Monica, Ca

DIY Girls Social Celebrating Access to Innovation at Cross Campus in Santa Monica, Ca

Dec 10, 2014

DIY Girls organization started by Founder Luz Rivas, empowers girls and women into STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) fields by developing educational programs and events designed to encourage exploration with technology, promote self-confidence and support aspiration into technical careers. Since 2012, DIY Girls has inspired nearly 400 girls in learning new technical skills and creating innovative projects. The organization held a spectacular social offering event “celebrating access to innovation” for underserved girls in Los Angeles at venue & coworking space - Cross Campus in Santa Monica. Throughout the evening supporters and attendees were able to try out cool and cutting edge tech demos by companies Oculus Rift, virtual reality headset and, drone quadcopters, whiskey and tequila tastings and a silent auction.

“We are here tonight to support DIY Girls to help raise funds to support the efforts of Founder Luz Rivas and the number of other staff members that are serving young latino girls in the San Fernando area and making sure they are receiving exceptional after school STEM programming” – Liliana Monge, DIY Girls Board of Directors

In photo (left): Luz Rivas, Founder of DIY Girls; Claudia Espinosa, DIY Girls Board Member/Secretary; Liliana Monge, DIY Girls Board of Directors; Megan Westerby, DIY Girls Board Chair.

“We are really happy to be here to showcase and introduce drones to girls because it’s been a guy thing predominantly since the beginning of our industry, now we are starting to see a lot more girls get into it and it’s really awesome to see more female operators and interest ” – Adam Gibson,


“One thing that we have seen value in as a society is sending kids on field trips to do things, for most people reading in a text book is not the most efficient way to learn something, the problem is that right now, the people who can do these things are really geographically and socioeconomically limited. Virtual Reality is a technology that potentially enables students to experience education in other places and to get them on an even playing field so it’s not just for the elite few to learn about the arts and science.” – Oculus Rift Founder Palmer Luckey,

IMG_2073 Photo taken by Matt Terndrup at DIY Girls social event.

“DIY (“Do-It-Yourself”) Girls’ mission is to increase girls’ interest and success in technology, engineering and making through innovative educational experiences and mentor relationships. Our Goal is to help young girls create, build and experience technology from 5th grade – high school graduation.”-DIY Girls Organization

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diy girls

Colonel (Ret) Richard Graham flew the world’s fastest and highest flying aircraft SR-71 Blackbird

Colonel (Ret) Richard Graham flew the world’s fastest and highest flying aircraft SR-71 Blackbird

Dec 6, 2014

Colonel (Ret) Richard “Rich” Graham, SR-71 Pilot and prior Commander of the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, recently spoke at the American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) San Gabriel Valley Section (SGV-AIAA) dinner event at the Beckham Grill in Pasadena, Ca. Col. Graham has flown the world’s fastest and highest flying aircraft, the SR-71 Blackbird, for 7 years during his 25 year Air Force career. He is author of four highly revealing and informative books on the SR-71: (1) Flying the SR-71 Blackbird: In the Cockpit on a Secret Operational Mission; (2) SR-71; (3) SR-71 Blackbird: Stories, Tales, and Legends; (4) SR-71 Revealed. Before and after Colonel Graham’s presentation everyone had a chance to network and talk with him some more or purchase a signed copy of one of his books. QGITS also had the opportunity to talk with Col. Graham at the AIAA event after his presentation. rich graham

QGITS: Lockheed Skunkworks has developed innovative breakthrough technologies and continues to redefine flight today, what was it like to fly the revolutionary aircraft Blackbird SR-71 designed by renowned aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson?

Colonel Graham: A dream come true to be able to fly it and Kelly used to come to some of our crew meetings and come up to Beale Air Force Base, which is where we were based. You could ask him any question that you had in mind and he was very good about answering them. I never had to work for him but those who did said that basically he was a task master he gave you all the authority the latitude and all the where with all to get results but he expected results. He was a great boss, Kelly never had his engineers in a building up in some office, many yards or miles away from the SR. He had everyone of his engineers on the ground floor with the mechanics and engineers where they were building the SR plane so if they had any problems they could see the exact problems while they were describing it on the floor. His engineers were not in some ivory tower somewhere, they were on the floor the entire time watching the airplane being built. That was one of the biggest success stories from an engineering standpoint having his engineers directly involved working with the building of the airplane.


During Colonel Graham’s presentation he played an inspirational video by Lockheed Martin, a tribute to the legendary Clarence “Kelly” Johnson of Lockheed Skunkworks one of the preeminent aircraft engineers of the twentieth century, and his Skunk Works team.

Innovation Lounge: Demoing Virtual Reality at Garden Grove Library

Innovation Lounge: Demoing Virtual Reality at Garden Grove Library

Dec 2, 2014

Recently we organized a virtual reality demonstration at an Orange County Library which resulted in some spectacular reactions. Previously, Qgits has hosted web development, 3D printing workshops at this library as well as giving students a hands on look at remote controlled drones. Now, it was finally time to show them what VR could do as we continued our recurring Innovation Lounge series.

See also: Flying Quadcopters with High School Students at Garden Grove Library

We choose Garden Grove library because we wanted to start introducing the exciting concepts of virtual reality to people who were already immersed within a world of education. This particular location was directly across the street from an Orange County high school meaning that kids were studying there on a daily basis.

Since virtual reality naturally allows for people to depict stories, the idea that VR would be regularly used in libraries in the future was something that we wanted to spark. These people were surrounded by books already, it only made sense to introduce them to something that would give them the ability to jump into a world and explore a story like no other.

The SoCal MakerCon Photo Roundup


On Nov 8, 2014, what was being called “the largest event celebrating inventiveness, innovation and ideas in Southern California” was held at the Los Angeles Fairplex building in Pomona, CA where a couple thousand people interested in the world of making showed up.

While we were at the event, we took a whole bunch of photos to document the growing maker movement as it flourished right before our very eyes. Embedded below is some of our favorites:

Let the Robot Battles Begin!

Mounds and mounds of electronics parts spread throughout the exhibitor booths where robots were created. Some battled each other in a clear box as crowds of enthusiastic people cheered nearby. Others flew into the air of the conference while eager individuals waited to control it on their own. Practically wherever one would look there would be some form of an electronically rigged robot.

3D Printers, 3D Printers Everywhere

A major theme that was seen at the SoCal MakerCon was a growing 3D printer trend. Companies were manufacturing their own custom 3D printers, providing 3D printing services and classes in a community makerspace or hackerspace and also distributors of 3d printers and supplies. 3D printing companies were printing items on the fly throughout the event for everyone to see and learn more about 3d printing. The amount of printers was a good sign the market is starting to proliferate causing the competition to go up and the consumer prices to go down. There were a lot of cool 3D printing companies to check out like Deezmaker, CoKreeate, Airwolf, Triaxisart, Purple Platypus, AIO Robotics, Vocademy, Urban Workshop, Factory Enova, Creatorspace, UMakers, MAKEiT 3D and OC Makerspace.

See also: Flashforge Easy-to-Use Desktop 3D Printers at SoCal MakerCon

More to see: OC’s MatterHackers 3D Printing Shop at SoCal MakerCon

Flashforge Easy-to-Use Desktop 3D Printers at SoCal MakerCon

Flashforge Easy-to-Use Desktop 3D Printers at SoCal MakerCon

Nov 29, 2014

Flashforge USA was recently at the SoCal MakerCon event in celebration of makers and inspiring innovators, showcasing their disruptive 3D printer series the Creator & Dreamer. The Creator series 3D printers target hobbyists and tinkerers who enjoy customizing their 3D printers and truly calling it their own. The Dreamer series is intended for beginners and those who just want to get things done. Flashforge recently contracted with Dremel to produce their Idea Builder as well as Monoprice’s 3D printer, which was the giveaway prize at the SoCal MakerCon event for a lucky winner. Tech Journalist Matt Terndrup talked with Peter Hsiao, Marketing Specialist at Flashforge about their different 3D printers featured at SoCal MakerCon.


Matt Terndrup: Tell us about Flashforge.

Peter Hsiao: We started in 2011, our headquarters is located in China but we have our regional office here in Los Angeles where we have our service center support, placement parts and printers. FlashForge currently offers two 3D printer series: Creator and Dreamer. Dreamer series is the first 3D printer to be released with IPS LCD touch screen, and one of the first in the industry to have Wi-Fi printing capability. It is close-sourced and uses our own software FlashPrint. The Dreamer is beginner friendly developed with simplicity and straightforwardness in mind.


The Creator series printers which include the Creator, Creator X, and Creator Pro, are based on open-source platform, meaning that there is more flexibility in terms of customization, your able to print ABS, PLA, soluble materials such as PVA, HIPS, nylon, or even wood filament or bronze filament. The advantage of owning a Creator series is that your able to make modifications to the extruder and you have the freedom to use other 3rd party software and firmware.


Matt Terndrup: What do you have displayed here?

Peter Hsiao: We 3d printed chess pieces or even mechanical functional gears. All of our printers come with two print heads that allows you to print two colors at the same time. What if you want to print more complex objects for example like a bridge. There’s going to be over hang where areas have gaps but with dual extruders, what you can do is print the actual bridge with build materials like ABS for example and then build the support structure for the bridge using like soluble materials like PVA and HIPS. Once your finished building basically submerge it in water, give it like an hour and it will dissolve everything. Your bridge will have a completely smooth finish… Really cool stuff.


Matt Terndrup: What are people printing for the most part that you have seen?

Peter Hsiao: Our customers are very broad. We have enterprises doing prototypes for their business. We are trying to get into medical, for example dental offices they are demoing 3d printing molds for their own application. Hobbyist are printing drone parts and DIY products they want to customize and even the average joe who wants to make household products like shower head replacement, tooth brush holders or anything to make their life easier.




Circuit Scribe “Draw Your Own Circuits” at SoCal MakerCon

Circuit Scribe “Draw Your Own Circuits” at SoCal MakerCon

Nov 28, 2014

Circuit Scribe was one of the innovative companies exhibited at SoCal MakerCon, an event that took place to inspire and empower people to collaborate and take initiative on their own ideas. At the Circuit Scribe exhibit, kids and families were having fun learning more about electronics by drawing with a conductive ink pen and placing magnetic modules that snap right onto circuits that you have just drawn on paper, bringing them to life. Michael Bell COO/Co-Founder and PhD student at Harvard School developed all of the modules, packaging and lessons for Circuit Scribe. He was there to help anyone with questions and demonstrate how Circuit Scribe works. QGITS talked to Michael to learn more about creating circuits with conductive ink and how they got started.

circuit scribe 3

QGITS: How does Circuit Scribe work?

Michael: Circuit Scribe is a conductive ink pen so you can draw circuits on paper with nothing but our pen and the electronic magnetic modules that we sell with the pen. So really the innovation is in the conductive ink inside of the pen. The ink formulation is from our research group, PhD students from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Harvard University. The ink inside of the pen was formulated actually for a different application and one of the other co-founders stuck it in the pen and suddenly we had a pen that could draw circuits.

Photos by: Matt Terndrup

QGITS: What inspired you guys to create this?

Michael: One of my co-founders which is Anna Lisa was finishing her PhD and she had developed this about 3 or 4 years ago. We thought one of the good things when she finished school was to start the company based on the product, so we launched a Kickstarter campaign last November. We rounded out the pen with all the modules so it’s really a learning tool and not just a high end hobbyist conductive ink pen with nothing to go with it.  We really wanted to lower the barrier of entry for electronics, it’s really hard to get younger kids interested into electronics because they wire up something wrong, it breaks, it smokes, it gets not interesting very fast but now we have something that we can see 4 year olds use easily. We hope Circuit Scribe will make it uncomplicated for anyone to start learning about circuits as well as inspire creativity among students, makers, artists, designers, and engineers.