Existing teaching tools for science and engineering are too clunky, too ineffective and prohibitively expensive. They rarely encourage exploration and discovery despite these being the most effective ways to help us learn and remember! Exploring objects, properties and behaviours with our hands helps us to learn quicker and more effectively. And despite this, typical teaching methods do not exploit the benefits of touch. Bridging the gap between theory and the real world is a big challenge in STEM education primarily because conceptualising phenomena such as forces, electricity and energy is very difficult due to their inherent invisibility.
Grasp it is a compact and portable 'classroom in a box' which helps people learning about science and engineering to achieve that 'aha' moment more quickly, independtly and effectively. Grasp it exploits the excellent catalysts of hands-on learning and active play. And it does so in a way that does not diminish or trivialise scientific theories. By combining advanced simulations, computer vision, digital projections and great physical design, grasp it makes the invisible become visible! On-the-fly colouful augmentations (of forces, mass, velocity, energy etc.) are displayed on top of user-imposed manipulations of physical assemblies. The user experience is quite magical.
Many of the major global challenges we face today can only be solved by the scientists and engineers of tomorrow but finding ways to engage young people with science and engineering is a real challenge for governments and educational institutions. Too much science education fails to convince young people of the agency it can provide. Improving accessibility to and affordability of high quality learning is a core objective this product. As humanitarian, environmental and political crises are on the rise, finding ways to fight the inequalities they cause by increasing accessibility to human knowledge is more important now than ever.
A key innovation is that the physical components closely resemble their schematic symbols used in pedagogy. This synchronicity between the physical embodiments, their digital twin and pedagogical symbols is by design and helps dramatically to improve learning and insight. Emergent from original research, the technology behind Grasp works by recognising what the user has assembled via computer vision. This is translated to a central topology file of the assembly which is discretised and then fed into physics engines. Physical interactions with the system are tracked in real-time by means of an IR-LED wand. There is a lesson editor for educators to create and curate their own content and the system also works as a digital-only app to further increase accessibility. This innovative technology is affordable, of extremely high quality and introduces a much needed breath of fresh air into outdated and ineffective teaching methods in science and engineering. We have received significant validation including: - written approvals from Australia's Chief Scientist as well as many leaders from education and industry - investment - awards (Swinburne Fellowship Award, Venture Cup People's Choice Award) - patent