Central student reaches semis in national space design competition


Central York’s Patrick O’Neill, 16, was named one of ten finalists for 3-D printing design in ASME Foundation/NASA contest.

A Central York student who started a prosthetic club for children in need has reached the semifinals of a NASA design competition that may land his design permanently etched on the International Space Station (ISS).

Out of hundreds of submissions, Patrick O’Neill, 16, is one of 10 students age 13 to 19 from across the country who have reached the semifinals in the “Two for the Crew” challenge, a competition organized by Future Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Foundation and NASA.

Students are challenged to design a multi-use tool that combines two instruments currently used by crews at the ISS.

The winning design earns a lucky student a trip to Washington, D.C., for a VIP experience on space exploration, a 3-D printer for their school or library, and they get their design printed in the ISS Advanced Manufacturing Facility.

‘Exciting’: Patrick’s design, the “Crescent Moon,” combines an adjustable crescent wrench with a textured plier, a design he said he came up with after researching the ISS toolbox.

“It’s definitely an honor being in this stage alone, but it’s definitely exciting to move on to the (next) stage,” he said.

Patrick spent three months perfecting the design and estimated he created more than 15 versions of Crescent Moon with his 3-D printer at home before creating the final working version submitted to the judges.

He credited his teacher Dianna Guise for applying for the competition and his former drafting and CAD teacher Sean Blasetti for introducing him to the software used to design the tool.

Blasetti said while he currently doesn’t have Patrick in class, he sees him often since the Central York Junior stops into his classroom during the “flex” study hall period to use the design software

“Patrick has always been one — you can see it in his eyes — (who) gets it quickly,” Blasetti said.

“He’s always setting his own goals, (and) I think he deserves to win.”

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“Like all of our Future Engineers participants, Patrick’s creativity and technical skills merged together beautifully to not just create a 3D print, but to innovate a new way that astronauts may manufacture and use future tools in space,” said Future Engineering CEO Deanne Bell in a statement.

“We admire his ingenuity and I wish Patrick and all of the semifinalists the best of luck in the next round.”

e-NABLE: During his freshman year of high school, Patrick was trying to get involved in a club at his mother Nancy’s behest but couldn’t find any that interested him.

Ever since Patrick could pick up a toy, he’s gravitated toward objects that were connected, whether it was a Lego brick or a computer program where he could create something out of scratch, Nancy said.

Ultimately, Patrick decided to create his own club, e-NABLE, to design and produce prosthetic hands for children around the world.

The club has about 15 members and is aiming to produce 50 prosthetic hands this year, double the amount the club produced last year.

Currently, the group produces all of the prosthetic arms using Patrick’s personal 3-D printer, but he hopes to win the “Two for the Crew” competition to leave a 3D printer at Central so the club can continue after he graduates.

While he hopes to go all the way, in some ways, Patrick already feels like he won.

“It’s great to see that when you work hard at something you get (recognized this way),” Patrick said.

“It’s an awesome feeling.”

What’s next: Patrick now moves on to the next round where four students in his age group will be the final four candidates for judges to consider.

The four finalists in each age group will be announced on Feb. 19, followed by the winners announcement on March 14.

Click here to view Patrick’s “Crescent Moon” design.

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'Star Wars'-inspired researchers develop technology to create colourful 3D images in space

Researchers have developed a technology to create 3D images in space which can be viewed from different angles similar to the projections seen in Star War films, Ironman and the image-projecting table in Avatar.

Daniel Smalley, a Brigham Young University (BYU) electrical and computer engineering professor and hologram expert has developed the 3D image projection similar to those in science fiction films.

Smalley said, “We refer to this colloquially as the Princess Leia project. Our group has a mission to take the 3D display of science fiction and make them real. We have created a display that can do that.” The project has been developed by taking inspiration from the projected image of Princess Leia in distress in the Star Wars films.

The 3D projected character of Leia is actually a volumetric image, a 3D image which can float in the air and can be seen from every angle. These images are indeed different from a holographic display which is formed by lights scattered from a 2D surface.

In a holographic image, a person needs to look at the scattering surface to see the 3D image whereas, in a volumetric image, the image is formed by scatters in the space or thin air. The person would be seeing the scatters in the 3D space and actually view it as an image. It is achieved through laser projections.

Erich Nygaard, an undergrad co-author stated, “We’re using a laser beam to trap a particle, and then we can steer the laser beam around to move the particle and create the image.”

Smalley said that images are created like 3D-printed objects. “You’re actually printing an object in space with these little particles.”

The free-space volumetric display platform is based on photophoretic optical trapping that produces full-color, volumetric images in the air. They are formed as 10-micron image points by the persistence of vision which blends multiple images into a single image.

Several other researchers have previously created similar volumetric imageries. According to the journal Nature, Smalley team is the first to use optical trapping and color effectively as their method and have used colorful lasers for trapping and illuminating particles.

The BYU researchers have so far created 3D light printed butterfly, a prism, a stretch – Y BYU logo, rings that wrap around an arm and an individual in a lab coat.

Dragon capsule returns to Earth after Space station delivery

A SpaceX Dragon freight send left the International Space Station and came back to Earth Saturday (Jan. 13), wrapping up an about month-long conveyance mission for NASA that likewise denoted the rocket’s second trek to space.

The uncrewed Dragon supply transport isolates from the space station’s mechanical arm at 4:58 a.m. EST (0958 GMT) and started terminating thrusters for its arrival to Earth. The space container sprinkled down in the Pacific Ocean off the bank of Baja California to be recovered by SpaceX, the organization reported at 10:39 a.m. EST (1539 GMT).

“Great splashdown of Dragon affirmed, finishing the second resupply mission to and from the @Space_Station with a flight-demonstrated business rocket,” SpaceX delegates said in a Twitter refresh.

Mythical serpent is conveying about 4,100 lbs. (1,860 kilograms) of payload to Earth, a lot of it science outfit from human and creature inquire about, and different investigations. That rigging incorporates equipment from an analysis by space producing organization Made In Space to 3d-print ZBLAN glass fiber optic wire in space, and a gathering of live mice from NASA’s Rodent Research 6 concentrate to create prescriptions that address muscle misfortune in space., NASA authorities said.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket propelled the Dragon mission on Dec. 15, with the container landing at the International Space Station on Dec. 17. The mission, SpaceX’s thirteenth resupply flight for NASA, conveyed 4,800 lbs. (2,177 kilograms) of provisions and rigging for space travelers.

Notwithstanding conveying freight, the mission denoted a turning point for SpaceX’s rocket reusability program. Both the Dragon case and its Falcon 9 promoter made their second treks to space on this flight. The Falcon 9 sponsor’s first stage already propelled an alternate Dragon container to the space station in June 2017. The Dragon case on this flight, in the mean time, beforehand went by the space station in April 2015.

STEAM labs and art gallery to share space in Bettendorf

A former science teacher and a local artist have teamed up to bring an innovation hub to the former Foster Family Music Center building on State Street in Bettendorf.

Pat Bereskin, owner of Bereskin Gallery & Art Academy, and Aaron Maurer, who spent 13 years teaching in various fields at Bettendorf Middle School, see their shared space, scheduled to be unveiled next week, as the ultimate mix of art and science.

Along with Bereskin’s art gallery on the first floor, the 8,000-square-foot property houses 212 STEAM Labs, a new nonprofit offering science, technology, engineering, arts and math, or STEAM, classes for preschool, elementary and middle school-aged students. The new nonprofit was founded by Maurer, who now serves as the STEAM lead for the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency, which serves 21 eastern Iowa school districts. 

Maurer considers 212 STEAM Labs “a vision that is coming to life.” Its name, he said, comes from this idea: “At 211 degrees, water is hot. But at 212, it begins to boil.”

“Our tagline is one degree of separation, so that means we want to be able to push and expose kids to things they haven’t thought of before,” he said. “So many kids don’t know what they want to do, and that’s OK, but are we providing them enough places to explore that?”

Students will soon be able to explore topics such as ancient engineering, 3D printing, coding and silkscreen printing via interactive classes, which kick off Sept. 7. 

Maurer said he hopes to fill the gap in what “schools just don’t have enough time to do in eight hours.” 

“We can say, ‘Here’s robotics, sewing, coding and a whole gauntlet of things,’ and if something sticks, we can help them develop that,” he said. “They can figure out what’s going to be a successful path for them as opposed to waiting until high school or college.”

Maurer is all for starting early. 

“One of my missions is by the eighth grade, they should be employable,” Maurer said. “If we can inspire them at a younger age, it gives them more possibilities to craft who they want to be.” 

As for the “A” in STEAM? That’s where Bereskin comes in.

She moved her art gallery, which showcases her own work and exhibits from area artists, from its home at the Bucktown Center for the Arts, Davenport, where Bereskin has been for four years, to the property on State Street.

Bereskin, 61, who studied elementary education at the University of Northern Iowa, has taught art classes for 27 years out of her house and later her gallery. She currently teaches about 160 students. 

Bereskin said she will miss her former studio space in downtown Davenport, but she’s ready to realize “larger goals and aspirations.” 

“My whole life has been dedicated to art and working with kids and sometimes marrying what I do with the community,” she said. “Legacy is a really good word for this. In the next 30 years, I want to make time to bring up the next generation of artists. That’s our goal.”

The building, owned by Vizient Properties LLC, had been empty since December 2014, when Foster Family Music Center closed.

“It’s a concept where you’re bringing the arts and education together; it’s nice to bring that downtown,” Jeff Reiter, Bettendorf economic development director, said. “There are some unique features you don’t see in many communities.”

As Maurer said, next week’s grand opening is only the beginning. 

“Everything we do we want to have a connection to the community,” he said. “There are tons of possibilities once we get rocking and rolling.”