It is truly incredible to witness ambitious young minds generate a sense of passion toward important matters in our world.
On Thursday, November 7th, we invited students ages 10-18 to join us for an evening of hands-on learning at our Future Innovators Workshop. This event served as an opportunity for students to learn beside the team members at Fresh. Our open environment also provided an insider’s look into the thought and production behind today’s most influential technology.
To kick off the event, the students settled into small groups to move through three interactive workshops. Each encompassed some of the main areas that Fresh specializes in and believes are important to innovation.
The Design Workshop was led by Industrial Design intern Erika Haack and emphasized the question “what is design?”. The students learned about the UX design process and how to solve real-world obstacles illustrated by our interactive intro to UX design, DefeatBOCO.com. This workshop focused on the process of understanding users and creating engaging design concepts.
Lead by Fresh Software Development Director Sean Patterson, the Software Development Workshop gave students insight into the experience of basic coding. To begin, they wrote a line of code on their paper and followed along as Sean demonstrated how it would function on his computer. The rest of this workshop expanded on the definition of Python and PyGame. They also learned how to build a program through commands, loops, drawing display, and debugging problems.
Our Robotics Workshop explored autonomous robots and their different components. John Houston, Full-Stack Developer and Darshit Dalal, Robotics Engineer introduced Fresh’s autonomous testing robot, Dewey, and provided a brief demo. The students spent the second half of this segment building their own mini robots, “Bristlebots,” made of pipe cleaners, an electric motor, and a toothbrush head.
After the workshops, we switched gears into a collaborative innovation challenge led by Robotics Solutions Director James Dietrich. The students were placed into six groups, where they utilized Fresh-designed Technology Innovation Cards to formulate new inventions. Each type of card represented a different category: Device, Connection, Capability, User, and Context.
In addition to the information on the cards, they also used strategies picked up from the workshops. First, each team decided on an idea for a product. Next, they wrote out a creative name, a description, the technologies they would include, and a vibrant depiction.
To determine the winners of this challenge, James presented the groups’ drawings to the judges and audience. The judges chose the top innovations based on three categories: Most Creative, Most Innovative, and Most Potential for Social Impact. Each winner took home one of our exciting prizes, which consisted of a build-your-own toy car, build-your-own robotic arm, a digital whiteboard, or a 3D pen.
We concluded the night with dinner for the students and their parents and a final speech from Steve Hulet, CTO. This recapped the importance of design, software development, and robotics.
Fresh is thankful to have had the opportunity of encouraging curiosity within bright, prospective creators. We greatly look forward to hosting more events like this in the future!