Innovative Workshop Series Sees 150 Students Develop a Bionic Hand

Recently, the ICT GISP collaborated with Advanced Manufacturing to conduct an intense week of workshops to 9 schools in our regions. Together, the ICT and AM teams reached over 150 students in years 9 to 11 who expressed some interest in a career within Advanced manufacturing and technology.  Technology can be found in all industries but the links with advanced manufacturing are clear.  Especially with use of robotics, which is what this workshop focused on, but it was not like any other workshop.

The workshop explored the bridge between classroom and industry. Highlighting how an idea can start as a prototype and evolve into a functioning piece of equipment, whilst exploring what that could look like in a multitude of career and industry spaces. In the workshops, students built a bionic hand from scratch using Adafruit (a block-based code structure) and actuators along with string and cardboard, to make fingers move depending on the way the hand tilted. 

Students were encouraged to play, develop and explore. One group of students from Cairns SHS went the extra mile with an extension arm piece for their robotic hand. Another group from Bundaberg SHS implemented a flip & switch where they reversed the commands. In Townsville there was a cohort of students in year 7 from the robotics STEM club who excelled in the workshop that was aimed at an older audience.

Students found the experience immersive and enjoyable, with one student saying:

    “this day has really shown me that a role in manufacturing is much more about smart use of technology, and I can really see how this can help        people’s lives”.

Students openly asked about career pathways, requesting more information on careers within automation, robotics and manufacturing as a whole. There were discussions around education pathways, positives of direct entry to industry and the skillsets employers are looking for.

Throughout the workshops, GISP’s dynamic approach and passion for empowering young minds was evident, as the team encouraged students to think beyond the conventional and embrace innovation. Our journey across Queensland highlights the impact and importance of engaging with schools, organisations, and industry stakeholders in nurturing a forward-thinking industry generation. By bridging the gap between education and industry, GISP continues to inspire and pave the way for a brighter future where innovation and collaboration thrive.