Halifax youth group competeting to win 3D printer

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HALIFAX – A group of Halifax-area youth is hoping to win a 3D printer to make their technology dreams come to life.

Cat Adalay of St. Margarets Bay began The Creator Program this May in order to teach kids ages 11 to 14 about 3D printing, electronic circuits, design, coding – and have them design their own “fully-functioning hardware prototype.

“We really wanted to create something where people could learn to use this equipment, to create their futures off of this technology,” Adalay said Tuesday.

Adalay said with technological changes like robots and artificial intelligence set to take away 45 per cent of traditional jobs, it’s especially important to get young people ahead of the curve and thinking about having a career or business based on their new skills.

“Things are changing rapidly and we need a mass technological education,” she said.

As part of the program, Adalay said the group of four kids has been working with two smaller 3D printers to create their prototypes, but they’re not set up for the kind of large-scale printing many of the kids want to do.

That’s when Adalay spotted the Great Big Gigabot Giveaway, organized by Wevolver and re:3D, who put a top-of-the-line 3D Gigabot printer up for grabs in a voting contest.

“Without a large-scale 3D printer we won’t be able to create prototypes without having to sacrifice some of the model’s structural integrity,” Adalay said.

“For me, that’s not an option for these kids, they deserve the best.”

It’s great to see the children who always knew they loved technology learning new things, Adalay said, but there’s something extra special about seeing a kid develop a passion for something they had no idea they could do.

“There’s one in particular … I feel like her confidence and her mindset has improved so much since the program started,” Adalay said.

“They’re already coming up with really great ideas and it’s completely amazing and inspiring.”

As of Thursday afternoon, The Creator Program was sitting in second place with 186 votes, but Adalay is hoping to overtake the first-place group with 272 votes before the contest closes Sunday.

The winner of the printer will be announced in November, Adalay said.

Adalay said the beta version of The Creator Program has been open to youth for free so far, but Adalay is hoping to turn the program into a commercial venture that allows young adults or university students to join for training.

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