Young people, 3D printing, robotics and digital tech

BIT003---Young-people-and-d~ bITjAM to launch digital innovation centre in the West Midlands

– first of its kind ~

The bITjAM team of digital design experts will open the bITjAM Innovation Qube (IQ), which will provide a space in Stoke-on-Trent for young people to investigate innovative technologies, on March 7, 2014. To celebrate the official opening of the IQ, bITjAM have teamed up with Farnell element 14 to organise a competition aimed at students in secondary and higher education, as well as apprentices.

The Qube will be dedicated to technology and design enthusiasts interested in identifying inventive digital solutions for a wide array of issues across industry. Technologies available to the young people in the centre will include an Oculus Rift VR technology, e-Beam Engage, 3D printing and Toshiba Machine robots provided by TM Robotics.

The new bITjAM Innovation Qube will also host a digital design studio and a flexible area, which will be used for hack spaces, seminars, workshops and research projects. The Qube will be equipped with a suit of iMacs loaded with relevant software, leap motion and Kinect technology, NeuroSky EEG monitoring systems and other innovative technical equipment.

bITjAM’s work focuses on the interaction between people and technologies. The team explores how technology can improve efficiency, productivity and communication in public and private organisations and businesses. bITjAM has already completed successful projects for the NHS, schools, universities, conservation trusts and arts councils. bITjAM offers three main services –design, research and development and knowledge, particularly workshops, seminars, TEDx events and local arts council.

To launch the bITjAM Innovation Qube, the team is inviting young people from the region to submit their creative ideas for a chance to win a technical kit worth £200, a half day guided tour around the bITjAM IQ and the chance to try out the equipment in a private R&D session. The goal is for participants to work in teams to identify a situation, issue or task, which they consider could be resolved or improved by using technology in an innovative way. The challenge is to then identify a creative solution and explain how it could be implemented using technology and design.

Competition entries will be judged according to four criteria – innovation, practicality, style and fun. Participants are given the freedom to choose what issue they would like to tackle, in order to encourage creativity and a wide range of interests.

The competition has three categories – secondary school students, university or other higher education students, and apprentices. Participants are encouraged to work in teams of between three to five people, but individual submissions are also accepted. The finalists of each category will be invited to an open day at the new bITjAM Innovation Qube, where they can experience what the new space has to offer and present their solutions in front of a panel of judges. The winning teams will be announced on the day.

Schools, students and apprentices interested in participating in the competition are invited to submit their entries here.

The bITjAM Innovation Qube encourages engagement with local schools, businesses and government. Workshops, hack labs, seminars and STEM groups will also be available in the space.