Thursday, July 10, 2008

D Day (-4) - Learning from the experts

Apologies for the delayed nature of this blog entry. Will be following up with today's installment later this evening to keep you up to date.

Today we took a trip to the MIT Hobby Shop so that the organizers could learn skills that we will then be able to impart to the participants during the build it modules on Day 2 of the summit. The Hobby Shop is an MIT workshop that has been providing tools, space, training and assistance for over seventy years to all MIT students who exhibit the desire to create. We met first in D-Lab and discussed the three build it workshops that we will be working through on the 15th of July. The three separate modules; the making of a charcoal press; the creation of a corn sheller; and a tutorial on cutting sheet metal, will each last two hours and past participants will be in assisting staff and mentors in teaching the participants the skills involved in each of these.

One of these such mentors is Ken Stone, The Director of the Hobby Shop. He welcomed us into the workshop earlier this morning and gave us a tutorial in how to use a superb high tech piece of machinery, the water jet. The jet uses highly pressurized, extremely thin streams of water to cut metal, plastic, stone or glass into formations and shapes entered into the accompanying computer using a basic form of CAD(Computer Aided Design). Participants will be shown first hand how to use the machine in the first week of the conference and judging by today's tutorial, it will surely be an experience they enjoy!

Organizers of IDDS 08' fascinated by the water jet in action

Cutting sheet metal with water!

The team then met up again later in the evening to give trial presentations to each other on their experience post IDDS 2007. These presentations were compelling as they highlighted that the IDDS experience does not simply end after the conference's closing ceremony. Two of the participants, Tombo Banda and Deepa Dubey, talked about how their time in the workshops and teams at MIT influenced their eventual thesis projects and Zubaida gave a presentation on a sugar cane detrasher. One particular presentation, however, caught my eye. Miguel Chavez talked about his experience with Engineers Without Borders, the organization designed to connect engineers in countries dotted around the globe. Soon after he arrived back in Brazil after IDDS 07 Miguel realized that this organization did not exist in his home country. Together with another participant, Fernanda Maluly Kemeid, he worked hard to set up a fledgling organization in the University of Sao Paulo and the organization now boasts numerous Brazilian members

It is stories like this that make IDDS the unique event that it is. We hope this year to further the participants' post IDDS experience by helping to implement the various projects and prototypes by providing participants with contacts in their home country's and and also making money available for grants. Another fantastic element of IDDS is the sheer variety, both in terms of the participants and the various tasks that we are working on. I spent the day working on cutting half inch pipe metal, updating the website and finished the day off by feeding Amy's Cat Thibi! I think she is our unofficial mascot for the conference but I may have to confirm that...

1 comment:

Alistair said... for more details of EWB-Brazil that Miguel and Fernanda set up. Looks like you're better organised than last year anyway ;-)