A day of raw imagination

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On Saturday, January 9, 24 participants journeyed backstage with the magic of The Little Prince – The Musical, and learned how to design and build inflatable art moons and planets.

Award-winning Set and Costume Designer Bretta Gerecke ignited everyone’s imagination in a whole new way, and then put those skills to use to create a collaborative inflatable floating artwork of moons and planets.

The results were truly delightful!

Photos by Andre Goulet.

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Bionic Flier at the Calgary Zoo


You probably do it without even being aware of it – look to nature for creative inspiration. We’re not talking about colour and beauty here, we’re talking about creative problem-solving. In engineering, it’s called biomimicry. Join Beakerhead at the Calgary Zoo to see the world masters at biomicry, the automation firm, Festo Canada. The Enmax Conservatory will play host to gorgeous robotic flying creatures and their engineer makers. The Bionic Flier is sponsored by the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary.

Media Release: Festo BionicOpter creates buzz at Beakerhead

Festo’s ultra-light flight model BionicOpter will fly at Beakerhead’s science, technology, engineering and arts spectacle.

With the BionicOpter, Festo has applied the highly complex flight characteristics of the dragonfly to an ultra-lightweight flying object at a technical level. As technological leader and a learning company, the German based company will demonstrate how nature provides inspiration to kick-start innovation and create the automation technology of the future at this year’s Beakerhead, which is partnering with the University of Calgary and the Schulich School of Engineering.  Presentations of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network and the BionicOpter will take place throughout the week at the University of Calgary, during Beakernight and various school programs as well as at the Calgary Zoo. For a detailed schedule, please visit www.beakerhead.com.

Download full media release

Schulich School of Engineering fuels the Beakerhead movement

The idea, the spark, the very notion of Beakerhead has a long story with many hands and minds coming together. But the fuel was to be found at the University of Calgary’s Schulich School of Engineering. From fledgling idea to full blown collaboration, Beakerhead and Schulich have a love affair like no other. They continue their sponsorship of the Festo Canada events including this year’s Bionic Flyer (a.k.a. BionicOpter) at the University of Calgary and the Calgary Zoo, but their relationship and support extend into the teaching curriculum at the school as well.

When asked about the relationship, Dean Bill Rosehart says, “Beakerhead reflects a more powerful meaning of what engineering is and what it needs to be in the future.”

He explains that at Schulich design is integral to the program and introduced right from the beginning. However it is also the inclusion of team collaboration and the notion that “there’s never one solution” he thinks is key. Rosehart notes it is this diversity of community, both within the school and the Calgary community at large, that brings out the program’s strengths.

Last year Huffington Post columnist Gene Marks wrote in his blog post “6 Reasons Why You Should Be an Engineer”;

“To be an engineer you need a certain type of intelligence that you won’t find in a communications, government or economic major. You need to be creative like an artist, and detailed like an accountant. You need to be independent and self confident. You need math and science and programming skills. It’s a specialty that requires using both the left and right brains. Some people have it, that technical and creative predisposition. And some don’t. If you have it then you should major in engineering. Why? Because the world needs engineers.”

Well we couldn’t agree more. Don’t miss the Bionic Flyer at the University of Calgary on September 17 from 11:00 am – 1:00 (free, drop-in and everyone welcome) and then later at the Calgary Zoo September 18 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (Zoo ticket entry applies). And if you see an engineer…show them some love!