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With Quirky, it’s all about product design and development. Quirky is an online forum and shop for “unique and functional physical consumer products that make our lives better, faster, and funner.” If you haven’t been to Quirky.com yet, have a look. It’s a great site for smart and innovative new products.
Quirky’s motto is: ‘We believe the best ideas in the world aren’t actually in the world… they’re locked inside people’s heads. We exist to solve that problem.’
In an article in PRWeb by Karen Fraser-Middleton, Marketing Consultant for the Sierra College STEM Collaborative, Garett Van der Boom, the head of Quirky’s International Distribution, adds, “Quirky wants to nourish students’ creativity and get them excited about inventing. Through evaluation, they get feedback from consumers and professionals so they can make improvements. We’d like to lift up a community of students unafraid to fail quickly and keep coming back with new ideas. Quirky removes the difficulties of turning an idea into a product for inventors, and we want to do the same thing for schools so it is easier for students to experience the design process.”
Three Colfax High School students—Autumn Turner, Hailey Elias, and Alec Cobabe (see photo above)—took this to heart and began work on a new invention for skiers called “Fast Forward.” It is a sensor that attaches to a ski boot and vibrates to signal when the skier needs to lean forward to maximize control. You can see the product on the Quirky site, and watch a video that shows you how it works.
The Sierra College STEM Collaborative and the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies at Sierra College made a 3-D printer accessible to the students for the project. Combined with companies like Quirky, Sierra College provides creative and innovative learning environments to high schools in the region by working with high school teachers like Jonathan Schwartz (who teaches engineering design at Colfax High and provided these photos) to help students see their idea through to fruition. Schwartz also works with students in the Colfax Inventeam, which coordinates with Habitat for Humanity to study and improve on building construction.
In the PRWeb article, Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Director of the Center for Applied Competitive Technologies at Sierra, summed it up by saying that “with Quirky breaking down the barriers,” and Sierra College STEM teachers engaging students in the design process, “we are building a future workforce of innovators who will be assets to employers and our nation’s economy.”
As for Hailey, Autumn, and Alex, all ardent skiers, moguls may have a whole new meaning. They watched online as Quirky reviewed their product before a live audience and panel members.
“It has been a great experience working with Quirky, and I was so excited when it went to the next stage of evaluation,” said Hailey. “When Bill Nye the Science Guy clapped for it, I screamed out loud!”