Tag: march 13

Studio Y – March 13

Studio-Y-cohort

Our second stop inside the MaRS building was Studio Y, where young people can apply for a 8-moth fellowship to learn about techniques useful for building leadership skills, entrepreneurship and many other types of skills. Reading about Studio Y made me wonder a few things, and those were my questions:

  • What specific qualities and abilities Studio Y’s members work on?
  • Aside from discussions, are there any other ways for the members to participate and develop their skills?
  • What do you classify as ‘innovation’ when it comes to game design?

Summary

Studio Y is located on a very nice room that looks a lot more informal and diverse than what we had seen from the MaRS building. We were greeted by some of the studio’s members, who introduced themselves and explained to us how the studio worked, and what are its objectives. We were then invited to participate in a session of discussion of varied topics, some proposed by the present studio’s members and others raised by some of us. Each person could pick one of the proposed topics to discuss, which resulted in small groups discussing varied subjects (for example, games narratives, the future of tech, games in education, inclusion and technologies, and others). The person who proposed the discussion topic also needed to pick a location for their group, including different corners of the room, the kitchen, and the food court. I decided to join the games in education discussion (located in the food court) with other four people. We discussed how often games are “dumbed down” to be used as instruments of education, which ends up creating a negative label for educational games in general, even though there are some good games of this type out there. It was also mentioned how there seems to be a lot of educational games for children but not nearly as many for teenagers or young adults, which reinforces games being “dumbed down” as children’s play and being necessarily easy and about simple topics. This prompted us to discuss about possible solutions to make educational games just as appealing as most common games. Once time was up, we returned to Studio Y’s room and each group gave feedback about their discussion, and nice discussion outcomes were rewarded with finger snapping.

 

Impressions

The nicest thing I noticed about Studio Y is that there’s a lot of freedom for participants to choose what they want to do and discuss, which promotes more honest and vivid discussions. The environment itself is also very welcoming and strangely cozy, giving the meeting a much more personal rather than professional feeling. I think this kind of atmosphere can be very positive for idea generation and innovation in general. The studio seems to explore and reinforce everything that most OCAD students seek, especially with the heavy focus on innovation. The idea of being able to pick a topic to discuss from scratch instead of discussing previously defined ideas (as it happens in most “discussion circles”) is very refreshing and particularly useful for brainstorming, and I feel I could have participated a bit more if I wasn’t shy. Regardless, even for shy people such as myself, I think the studio provides a very positive environment for idea generation and learning in general.

Push Strength – March 13

MaRS-client-PUSHs-wearable-fitness-tracking-device-measures-strength-when-training1

We visited the MaRS building during March 13, and our first visit included a small tour with Mike Lovas, who talked about one of the projects he was a part of. His presentation answered my questions:

  • What was the biggest difficult in making this device?
  • What is your advice for people who intend to work with wearable technology development?
  • At some point, did you have trouble with financial costs?

Summary

Mike gave us a tour around the spaces he and his team used to work on the Push Strength device. The product itself consists of a fitness tracking device in the shape of an armband that helps athletes keeping track of several variables during a specific exercise. Mike talked mostly about the steps taken to make the product a reality, from the project idea to their acceptance into Jolt, a program that helped the team to give continuity to Push Strength. He also talked about the team’s future plans for Push and how they intend to expand the product’s capabilities to mobile and web. Regarding finances, Mike explained the project started with crowd-funding but received further monetary support along the way, even from the government. The spaces at the MaRS building used during Push’s development changed as the device production progressed, especially with Jolt’s support – the first room we visited had an informal office-like structure shared by different teams, while the second space downstairs was much more professional and quiet.

 

Impressions

Seeing a successful project that started with crowd-funding and small proportions is very significant and adds up nicely to what we heard from Steve Tam during his Indiegogo presentation. This visit provided us with a very helpful insight on what it is like to work on a project through several steps of its development, and it was especially interesting to see the changes in physical space and how that space actually represented the production stage of the project very well. I was mostly interested in the finances part and I think it speaks a lot about the project and its level of success to gather funds from different sources. Even though we only met Mike, it was clear enough that the whole team behind Push Strength must work hard and dedicate themselves to this project a lot, otherwise the results would be a lot different.

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