Parametric Studio Inc., an Ames-based edtech company, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grant for $738,000 which will allow them to commercialize their technology.
The company, founded in 2016, has developed project-based STEM games, software, kits and curricula for middle and high school students that can be integrated into classrooms and other group activities. In doing this, Parametric Studio hopes to improve student STEM outcomes, and interest more students in STEM careers in their formative years.
“STEM education, skills, and careers are absolutely critical to the future of our economy, our country, and our world. Everyone will need some level understanding and proficiency in STEM,” said Dr. Christopher Whitmer, CTO of Parametric Studio. “The good thing is every child is a natural scientist, mathematician, or engineer waiting to be unleashed to solve problems. Everyone is a problem solver so engineering really should be for everyone. All that’s needed are new solutions, frameworks, and quality tools that engage, motivate, and educate all kinds of kids and do so in a way that collaborative, hands-on, and not difficult for teachers to implement.”
The software being developed, called EDISON, consists of a collaborative game environment where students work together in teams to formulate problems, design solutions, apply math and science concepts to model behavior, simulate and improve their designs, and finally, export their team designs for real-world creation either on 3-D printer, or by several other means. EDISON is designed to foster student engagement and inquiry in STEM in middle school, by leveraging gamification, team collaboration, and 3D printing, and augmented reality.
The company has three different tiers of products for students at different grade levels.
“We’re adding a few things at each level and we’re going to cross-pollinate them as well,” Whitmer said.
This is the second grant Parametric Studio has been awarded, having received a $900,000 grant from the US Department of Education in May 2017.
Parametric Studio is currently looking for partner schools and districts across the country interested in testing and evaluating their software for implementation in their Math and Science curricula.