Getting to Know Sphero Robotics (& Special Offer)

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We’ve caught a bit of maker fever here at Studica. Recently, we’ve expanded our Robotics offerings to include some brilliant products that inspire hands-on engagement with technology and engineering in the classroom. One of our favorites is definitely Sphero and his new companion, Ollie. Sphero is a company – named after its flagship robot – that specializes in “connected play.” This means that it is passionate about creating products that are connected to the latest in technology and robotic innovations.


sphero robotic ballUnlike traditional learning resources, these robots and software allow you to create ever-evolving experiences that change the way you have fun, learn and explore. Sphero is the world’s first app-controlled robotic ball and is a sophisticated companion for your smartphone or tablet. Its successor, Ollie, is just as fun and educational. Ollie is programmed for tricks and has a lot more customization options. Fusing technology and robotics engages students in an entirely new way. It inspires them to pursue technology, rather than be intimidated by it. Programming isn’t easy, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to give young students the resources they need. Products like Sphero can help.

Sphero uses Play as a Powerful Teacher

Whether you’re an educator or a parent, the lessons included in Sphero products give kids a fun, interactive experience in programming. Watch as they engage in a new subject, while also sharpening their existing math and science skills. You can download free lessons, or see what teachers are saying about Sphero on the company’s Twitter page.

Sphero has over 35 apps available for the Sphero and Ollie robots.

Sphero & Ollie in Action

Sphero

Speed, Tricks, Customization Specialty Play, Learn, Explore
USB Charging – 1 hr. drive time Power Inductive Charging – 1 hr. drive time
4 Apps – Driving, programming Apps 30 Apps – Driving, Multiplayer + More
Over 14 MPH (6M/S) Drive Over 4.5 MPH (2M/S)
Bluetooth LE (instant connect) Connection Bluetooth (manual connect)
iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android Devices iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android and Windows
Outruns Pets and Hates Water Protection Waterproof and Pet-proof

 Buy Sphero Today and Save

There has never been a better time to purchase a Sphero robot. Now through December 7th, you can buy the Sphero for $99.99. Originally priced at $129.99, you can take advantage of savings that will ensure your holidays are merry.  Teachers and parents alike can rest at ease with the confidence that this year’s must-have toy will introduce kids to the world of technology and programming. You can find Sphero and other robotics offerings at studica.com.

 

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New X Rite Rebate Offers for Students and Professionals

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X rite rebatesX Rite is a global leader in color science and technology. With color industry leader, Pantone, at its side, this company is dedicated to manufacturing, marketing and supporting innovative color solutions through a line of measurement systems, software, color standards and services. Now – for a limited time – you can get your hands on some of the world’s leading color management tools at incredible prices and receive money back.

Studica offers Pantone and X Rite products at competitive pricing for professionals, students and educators. Starting November 1st through December 31st 2014, you can get rebates ranging from $10-$200 on eligible X Rite products. Purchase today, complete the rebate form, return it online and your rebate will be on its way. It is that simple. Please note, at this time these offers are only valid for customers in the United States and Canada.

X Rite Rebate Savings

Not only will these X-Rite products save you time in selecting, creating and managing your color scheme, but purchase one of them today and you could receive money back. The following are just some of the products eligible for rebates. Please visit our X-Rite page to learn more. Please note this rebates are valid for the USA only.

ColorMunki Smile ($10 REBATE) Use this program to get more accurate color from your monitor. The process is easy and the results are amazing. ColorMunki Smile is a simple color calibration solution that makes sure your computer screen is always displaying the correct colors.

Color Munki + Passport Bundle ($50 REBATE) This bundle offers photographers and editors a complete solution for capturing and viewing correct color. This bundle uses the latest monitor and projector calibration – achieved with ColorMunki Display technology – and combines it with the proven performance of ColorChecker Passport for consistent color correction.

i1Publish Pro 2 ($200 REBATE) Get the ultimate in world-class, professional color management hardware and software. The i1Publish Pro 2 system delivers perfect color consistency across all of your professional imaging devices, whether digital or conventional. Create custom, high quality profiles for monitors, digital projectors, cameras and your RGB/CMYK+ printers. Consolidate and optimize your workflow by allowing one system to maintain quality color throughout your work.

About X Rite

X-Rite products are used in a range of industries, including printing, packaging, photography, graphic design, video production, automotive, paint, plastics, textiles, dental and medical. Use the same tools and resources as professionals with amazing savings. Nearly every industry benefits from color management solutions. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a student seeking to obtain experience for success in your future career, X-Rite products can help you get the right color the first time, every time.

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Lumion 5 Revolutionizes Visualization Software

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Lumion 5 ReleaseLumion is known for providing Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) professionals with the best, most intuitive rendering experience for their designs. The recent release of Lumion 5 only proves that Lumion continues to build on that promise. It is now considered the leading software in its class, because of its ability to redefine the process of making 3D visualizations. It has also become an essential part of the BIM (Building Information Modeling) toolkit for many AEC professionals.

So, what does this leading visualization software have to offer? The new releases, Lumion 5 and Lumion 5 PRO, support a boost in physically-based materials, new tools and several new improvements to the workflow. A huge bonus for many of our readers is the incredibly generous discount given to students, faculty and educational institutions. Proof of academic standing means you and/or your students receive a discount of up to 90%. That’s right, save thousands of dollars and benefit from using the same software as the professionals. It’s all part of the movement to prepare students for future careers and heighten STEM curriculum around the world.

Lumion 5 New Features

Every designer will tell you that materials are vital when you need to create high quality, convincing visualizations. The Lumion material library has been extended and vastly improved.

  • Lumion visualization software123 new materials have been added to Lumion 5, making the total available materials well over 648.
  • Materials are now physically-based. Physically Based Rendering (PBR) based on the physics of the interaction between light and a surface. This process results in more realistic looking material.
  • Several completely new categories of materials have been introduced, including: plastic, leather, stone and more.

Lumion 5.0 Preview from Lumion on Vimeo.

This architectural visualization tool has improved upon its existing easy-to-use workflow by offering faster rendering time and many new tools.

  • The new Mass Placement feature allows you to build scenes faster than before. Just draw a line and the objects you select will be placed along it.
  • Similar to the Mass Placement tool, the Mass Move effect enables you to efficiently animate large numbers of objects. Draw a line in your scene and watch the objects close to it move at the speed and in the direction you define.
  • Lumion 5 allows you to create multiple movies for the scene you’ve designed. You can make up to 10 movies for a single scene.

Create, Learn and Achieve with Lumion 5

These are just a few of our favorite improvements and additions to Lumion 3D visualization software. Feel free to visit our Lumion pages to learn more. Not sure if Lumion or Lumion PRO is right for you? We put together a Lumion 5 vs. Lumion 5 PRO comparison chart to help you choose the option that best fits your creative workflow.

So whether you’re a professional looking to upgrade your current system or a student in need of intuitive visualization software for your assignments, Studica has a Lumion solution for you at a price you can afford. Educational institutions and educators can also use Lumion 5 to help students make the transition from the classroom to the boardroom. Get the latest in revolutionary visualization software from Lumion.

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Now at Studica: PTC Academic Program for Schools

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ptcap1Since Studica has become part of the PTC Academic Program by offering student solutions, we have received a lot of positive feedback from the educational community. We are now a proud supplier of PTC Academic Program for schools. PTC is responsible for providing Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions to 28,000 major companies worldwide. This company is dedicated to developing technology that will transform the way manufactures create, operate and service products. It is through this global, multi-industry experience that PTC noticed its unique position to help future professionals.

What is the PTC Academic Program for Schools?

The PTC Academic Program is dedicated to preparing students for a career in nearly every industry by providing a relevant modern product development education that will inspire the engineers of the future. PTC strives to deliver an academic advantage for educational institutions and their students by offering industry standard design, calculation and collaboration software used by the world’s leading product development companies paired with industry-recognized training programs and curriculum.

The PTC Advantage

The High School level programs focus on the process of product development. These students learn how products are made – from early concept design to service in the field. For over ten years, PTC engineers and educators have worked with schools to enhance the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

PTC Academic Program University level programs share a similar design with a focus on industry standards. The PTC Creo University Plus Edition utilizes the same computer-aided design (CAD) software used by 28,000 of the world’s most successful companies in product development. NASA, John Deere, Raytheon, Toyota, Caterpillar, Black & Decker, Adidas, Medtronic and Boston Scientific are just some of the companies using PTC Creo and PTC University eLearning technology. In fact, nine out of ten most desirable engineering careers in the Americas, as voted by students, are PTC customers.

The Benefits of PTC University eLearning

Using this incredible technology in the classroom is made even easier with PTC University eLearning program that provides 6,000+ hours of online content for PTC’s products. You can pick-and-choose the PTC Creo® or PTC Mathcad® curriculum relevant for you and create an online textbook for your computer-aided design (CAD) courses. With ‘flipped classrooms’ being a reoccurring and influential buzzword in academia, PTC University eLearning provides an out-of-the-box solution to get up and running with this new form of teaching. In other words, your students can learn at home, utilize the modules you assign and put them into practice during class where an instructor is present for questions.

Adopting the PTC Academic Program

Studica provides the latest PTC Academic Program solutions. Engineering jobs have changed and it is important for students to have the skills demanded by industries new and old ― whether that means acquiring knowledge of product lifecycle management (PLM), getting access to training used in the field or gaining skills in another computer-aided design (CAD) tool for their resumes. We offer these award-winning tools to save you time and allow you to focus on teaching your class and cultivating the skills necessary to get your students hired.

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How an Interactive Whiteboard Benefits the Classroom

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Interactive Whiteboard Technology has been around for over 20 years, but it is only just now gaining traction in the US, a change that is long overdue since the research indicates that digital whiteboard use improves retention by up to 38%¹ and decreases the amount of time it takes to learn complex subjects.

Unfortunately, cost can be prohibitive to schools that are already struggling with funding. Some of the most well-known interactive whiteboards like SMART and Promethean can cost upwards of $4,000 which means that for many schools under financial stress, these whiteboards are simply not an option. BoardShare looks to fill this niche with their pocket sized device that can turn any existing whiteboard or LCD screen into a digital whiteboard and retails for under $350.

The Evolution of the Interactive Whiteboard

Higher end whiteboards also require training to use and take 20-30 months² to master. Two years is a long time to invest in learning new technology and many teachers may be put off by the steep learning curve and significant time sink, especially when they have current students that they need to devote their attention to. BoardShare, on the other hand, is intended to be intuitive and easy to learn. It takes less than a minute to set up and its functions are fairly simple and straightforward.

Users can easily highlight, annotate, or write on any document or web page on their computer and then take a screen shot to present their work later. Or they can save and share it with other BoardShare users. BoardShare is also simple enough that even children will be able to use it to participate in lessons and give their own presentations in class.

When students are able to engage and interact with the lessons they are being presented with, overall retention and interest is increased and BoardShare is dedicated to making this interactive whiteboard technology accessible to the demographics that could use it the most.

¹ http://www.neamb.com/professional-resources/benefits-of-interactive-whiteboards.htm
² http://www.edutopia.org/interactive-whiteboards-technology-success
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da Vinci AiO: All in One 3D Printer & 3D Scanning Machine

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Earlier this summer we shared with you information on the much anticipated SLA 3D printer, the da Vinci Noble, from XYZ Printing. Well, it turned out that wasn’t the only new product announced at this year’s Computex. The company known for providing innovative 3D printing solutions at amazingly affordable prices, also unveiled its plans for the da Vinci 1.0 AiO. The da Vinci 1.0 AiO is an All-in-One 3D printing and 3D scanning machine. Now you can scan and print with the same intuitive interface you’ve come to expect from da Vinci 3D printers.

All in One 3D Printer and 3D Scanning Technology

all in one 3d printerThe da Vinci 1.0 AiO is available for pre-order now. Why should you think about pre-ordering this printer? There are several factors that set this AiO printer apart from the competition: affordability, laser technology and ready to ship printers. Da Vinci 1.0 AiO is built on the existing da Vinci model with enhanced components. The device’s platform is upgraded with new laser sensors and a spinning plate to ensure an accurate scan of objects.

XYZ Printing‘s laser sensor technology is unique to the industry; due to its diagonal placement that allows for a more complete scan with reduce parallax errors. The placement of these sensors allows the laser to scan an object from odd angles. The printer does not rely on software to fill out spaces and complete the cross-section model of an object. The laser scans the dimensions of an object and feeds the information directly to the computer connected to the printer. According to XYZ Printing, it takes between one and five minutes to finish scanning a small object. Users can actually select the amount of time spent scanning – the longer you choose to scan your object, the more complete the result will be.

The new da Vinci all in one 3d printer and 3d scanner makes it possible to scan and print 3D objects from one machine. Check out the latest features that make 3D Printing as easy as 1 -2 -3!

Innovative Scanning Technology

  • Fast Scan Algorithm – less than a 5 minute scan for small objects
  • Dual-head Laser Scan Technology – promising the best scanning results
  • Automatic rotating scan platform

Editing Features

  • Smart-fix Technology to enhance your 3D scans
  • Easy-to-use XYZscan software

Reliable Printing Technology

  • Plug-and-Play easy to use 3D printer
  • Largest 456 cubic inch build volume – 7.8″ x 7.8″ x 7.5″ (20 cm x 20 cm x 19 cm)
  • XYZ 3D Design+ Cloud – a service platform that helps make your 3D creative designs become reality

Learn more about this new All-in-One printer/scanner from XYZ Printing.

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How to Export a Printable STL File from Chief Architect

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Recently, Studica started offering Chief Architect for education. Chief Architect is a CAD program that makes it incredibly easy to design a building from scratch. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the program and learn my way around it. One of the big new features in Chief Architect X6 is the ability to export your model as an STL file. STL files are one of the most common file types for 3D Printing. If you have a 3D Printer, chances are it prints STL files. In this post, I want to detail how you can export an STL file, fix the file for 3D Printing, and then print the file.

When you prepare a model for 3D Printing, there are certain considerations to take into account if you want your model to print properly. The issue with Chief Architect’s current STL Exporter is that the program does not automatically export a print-ready model. If you export your design as an STL file, you will notice that the model may not be water tight and it may have a lot of non-manifold geometry. Both of these features will result in a problematic print job. This is something that has been brought up on Chief Architect’s forums. Since it is a desirable feature, we can hope that as the software continues to be developed, these issues will be worked out.

Tips for using Chief Architect STL Exporter

In the meantime, however, I have workarounds that should get your STL file printing correctly! Let’s go over the workflow to get from 3D Model to STL file to Printed Object.

1. Design your building in chief architect however you desire. Here’s an example of a poorly designed building that I made.

Chief Architect Figure 1

2. Once you have the model looking the way you like it, go to File → Export →Export 3D Model (STL)… Keep in mind that you need to be in a 3D View in order for this option to be active. Choose a name for the file and save it where you want it.

3. This is probably the most important step. Since Chief Architect’s STL export is likely to have issues, I highly recommend uploading your STL file to Microsoft’s Netfabb cloud site: https://modelrepair.azurewebsites.net/index.php

You will be asked to login with your Microsoft account. If you don’t have one, go ahead and make one; it’s free. Once you’re signed in, click the “Upload” button and choose your STL file. Once that’s done, the service will begin repairing the model. Once it’s finished repairing, click the “Download” option to download the fixed STL file. If you have a working knowledge of 3D Modeling software such as Blender, Maya, 3DS Max, etc. then you could bring the model into those programs and fix it from there. While this may give you more desirable results, it could also take a lot longer to finish.

Chief Architect Figure 24. Once you have the fixed STL file, you should be able to import it into whatever splicer you want to use and print it to your 3D Printer. For the purpose of this post, I imported my STL file into XYZWare for my DaVinci XYZ 1.0 3D Printer. Depending on the software you use, you might want to tweak the settings a bit until you get a model that looks good to you. This was my final print model in XYZWare.

Chief Architect Figure 35. Now that you’ve done that, you should be able to print it and see the results. Bear in mind that 3D Printing often involves a lot of tweaking to get right. Your first model may not look the way you want. If that’s the case, you will want to go back into your settings and mess around with the different options. You’ll notice in the picture below that my roof didn’t quite turn out very well. This is something I would want to keep in mind the next time I want to print out a model. IT is likely because I did not print with supports so the roof had no material to build itself upon. As such the material became stringy.

In conclusion, the STL exporting in Chief Architect could still use some work. However, with a little bit of tweaking, it is possible to get your model printed the way you want. As the software progresses, I expect that this feature will only get better. I hope you found this helpful. Feel free to leave a comment. Let us know if you have any experience printing STL files from Chief Architect!

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The Rise of 3D Printing Curriculum

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Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board, in the Province of Québec, is bringing 3D printing curriculum to its students in Joliette Secondary School. The school board’s AEVT department recently submitted a grant proposal for the purchase of a 3D printer in support of its Work Oriented Training Path (WOTP) program. WOTP is intended to help students study building structures and forms and expose them to engineering and architectural concepts. The grant was approved with the hopes that it would strengthen the Province’s Vocational Technology initiatives in the community. The school established a 3D printing curriculum with the purpose of connecting WOTP subjects with technological and scientific experimentation and preparation for the job market.

Students that engage in these exploration activities get involved in modeling and printing architectural forms. A curriculum built around 3D printing is set to stimulate their interest in building trades and encourage perseverance in those areas. The school’s curriculum, referred to as MAKING, is simple but very effective in achieving success in STEM education.

MAKING a 3D Object: Joliette’s 3D Printing Curriculum

3d printing curriculum

Fig. 1 – Process of MAKING a 3D object (21 m of filament used, printing duration 3h24)

Step 1 – Design/Modelling

Drawing digitally can be done using a variety of different software solutions. Many drafting and engineering professionals and students rely on SolidWorks for its intuitive, 3D modelling interface. SolidWorks’ designs can also be saved and exported in STL format. STereoLithography (STL) file format has become the industry standard when it comes to 3D printing. It is often used for rapid prototyping and computer-aided manufacturing. STL files refer only to the surface geometry of a three-dimensional object. They do not account for any representation of color, texture or other common CAD model attributes.

Step 2 – 3D Printing

Following the creation of the STL file in SolidWorks, students are responsible for sending the data to the 3D printer. The Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board purchased a da Vinci 1.0 3D printer because of its user friendly interface. The printer will guide the user to adjust the print density of the object(s), once it has received the model data. The default print setting on the da Vinci 1.0 printer will create the internal structure of the object based on honeycomb structures. The printer will also provide supportive structures according to the object features. These printed supports are used to structural strength and ensure that the model does not collapse during the printing process (Figure 2).

Step 3 – Raft Removal

3d printing curriculum figure 2

Fig. 2 – Printout result

Printing thinner and longer objects requires more attention due to the shapes’ physical instability. Rafts create stability and can be removed after the object has been printed. Sometimes, the printer will use more filament for the rafts than for the actual object being printed (Figure 3).

The Academic Outcome

3d printing curriculum figure 3

Fig. 3 – Raft removed (on the left) to extract final product (on the right)

The Pedagogical Consultant for Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board, Tami Belhadj, stated, “For high school students, project based instructional strategy is favored as a deeper learning approach. 3D printers open new possibilities for learning, promotes problem solving skills and most importantly creates excitement.” He goes on to suggest that a worthwhile challenge for students pursuing building trades, is to ask them print one of Blanciak’s 1001 Building Forms. There are many STEM education resources that provide educators with similar activities to fit their respective subjects.

Take advantage of your academic status as a faculty member or a student, and get your hands on a 3D printer and CAD software at academic prices. Achieve hands-on learning and explore design concepts in an academic environment that will prepare you, or your classroom full of students, for career success.

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3D Print Your Own Robot with bq’s DIY: My First Robotics Kit

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bq robotics kitAn invasion of PrintBots is taking place at Studica. Design and print your own robot with one of da Vinci’s 3D printers and bq’s DIY: My First Robotics Kit. This bilingual kit is sure to electrify your students’ imagination. Just in time for Halloween, your little ones can put on their mad scientist gloves and build a creation of their own. All while learning the basic concepts behind robotics, programming and engineering.

bq is a Spanish company dedicated to designing and manufacturing multimedia devices and 3D printers. In its mission to make digital devices more accessible to people around the world, the company developed the DIY: My First Robotics Kit in an attempt to de-mystify technology. Most children – and if we’re being completely honest, most adults – are accustomed to using technology every day, but are intimidated by the seemingly complex nature of how their devices work. The truth is technology is not as daunting as it appears, and you certainly don’t need years of study to understand its basic concepts.

That’s where bq and 3D printing comes in. The DIY: My First Robotics Kit gets children to interact with technology in a natural way; through playing and having fun. Help your students lose their hesitation and begin to understand how robotics works. Combine creativity with project-based learning as students manufacture parts with 3D printing and assemble their robots with electronic components from bq. Recommended for ages 8 and up, this kit is sure to spark the interest of kids and adults alike.

Benefits of Assembling a Robot with PrintBots

make robot with printbots• Promotes visual logic, decision-making, imagination & other critical skills
• Build a PrintBot design provided, or encourage students to make a custom robot
• Step by step instructions for each robotic component in both Spanish and English
• Real robotics with real electronics, a hands-on experience safe enough for children and comprehensive enough for real-world application
• Programmable with mobile application RobotPad++ (for more advanced users)
• Design, Create, Program, Recycle

Adopt Your PrintBot

Take advantage of Studica’s da Vinci and bq bundle, which provides you with your own 3D printer and the DIY: My First Robotics Kit. This bundle also includes two PrintBot designs in .stl file format, so you can 3D print whichever body you want for your robot. Interested in hosting your own PrintBot invasion? Feel free to visit us and request a quote. This is a great STEM solution for use at home and in the classroom.

Learn to play and play to learn!

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Electric Paint from Bare Conductive Sparks Creativity

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electric-paintWhen you think of painting, electricity probably doesn’t register in your brain right away. Seems like a possibly challenging combination – to put it mildly. However, that train of thought is not what occurred to the bright minds at Bare Conductive. No, these innovators created an electric paint and a range of engaging kits that demonstrate the different ways you can use it. From paint, to starter kits and just recently the company’s own line of hardware, Bare Conductive creates products that make electronics fun and intuitive by blending concepts of design and technology.

The first thought that came to mind when we heard of this amazing was, “Wait, how does it work?” Studica always tries to provide students, educators and those interested in technology with cutting-edge, innovative products. So of course, we did a little investigating and got to know more about this wonder paint from the makers themselves.

What is Electric Paint?

Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint is a non-toxic, water based, water soluble, electrically conductive paint. It adheres to a wide variety of substrates and is easily removed with water. At this time, the paint only comes in black, but it can be over-painted with any material compatible with a water-based paint. This paint works with low voltage DC power sources. It is able to power small devices and creates a unique microcontroller interface.

bare conductive electric paintThe drying time for Electric Paint is between 5 to 15 minutes in a room temperature environment. The great thing about the drying process – besides its relatively fast drying time – is that the paint does not give off fumes. The paint’s flexibility is dependent on the thickness at which it is applied and the choice of surface. A consistent layer of paint creates the most flexible circuitry, while surfaces that are flexible, but do not stretch work better to ensure there are no fractures. This kind of functionality makes Electric Paint also ideal for cold soldering. This material is strong and almost infinitely repairable, which allows for components to be cleaned and re-used.

Bare Conductive Electric Paint in Action

Since its introduction, Electric Paint has been incorporated into various projects ranging from engineering designs to fine art. While it is safe for children and Bare promotes a number of student activities, young generations aren’t the only ones experimenting with it. Artist, Xavi Sole Mora, created an amazing re-imagining of Goya’s ‘Qué pico de oro! ‘. His piece, ‘The Gift of the Gab’, used electric paint in conjunction with Arduino Mega and Raspberry Pi to trigger MP3 sounds and servos via touch.

Spark your own creativity and experiment with electric paint, or delve into the company’s unique design kits with Bare Conductive’s Robot Parade. No matter what you do, you’ll definitely have fun doing it. At home or in the classroom, the possibilities with Electric Paint are endless.

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