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Shamrocks venture to Design Innovation Institute

Fourteen Saint Patrick students representing the STEM Club, Robotics, MakersLab and Digital Design classes visited the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) on Thursday, April 28.

The facility, located on Goose Island, was established in 2014 as part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.  The DMDII, a research and development organization of UI LABS, encourages factories across America to deploy digital manufacturing and design technologies, so those factories can become more efficient and cost-competitive in a global market. Awarded more than $70 million by the U.S. Government, DMDII and its partners create the tools and technologies to solve today’s most pressing manufacturing challenges.

The St. Pat’s students became part of this initiative during a two-hour tour of the 94,000-square-foot facility, where they were able to see first-hand the capabilities, innovative spirit and broad expertise of how to digitize American manufacturing. They met with experts in the field, engineers and supply chain managers to learn how the manufacturing industry works and what the future holds for the field. DMDII sponsors research projects in digital manufacturing and design; disseminates the lessons learned; and helps educate the workforce of tomorrow.

Sophomore Matias Nicosia (Elm School) watched as a DMDII designer created a key chain with St. Pat’s logo on it through a CAM computer program. Matias, along with his fellow-students, got to see how the keychain went from design to production as they inspected a newly made St. Pat’s keychain hot off the presses.

“It was mind blowing how all these products are made and to watch the process,” Nicosia said.

At the end of the tour students were put in teams and asked to design and make a prototype of a bean bag for a corn hole game. The students used innovation and were given limited materials (construction paper, staples) to create their product.  Winners were judged by the DMDII staff, who based their votes on the teams’ creativity, design, innovation and materials.

“Watching the students work together to create a prototype was so inspiring to see as an educator,” Media Specialist Rachele Esola said. “The process embodied everything you read about regarding collaborative learning.”

St. Pat’s will continue the relationship with DMDII and make additional field trips with their students by visiting the site next school year.

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