Brampton’s Technology Playground
MakerSpace program creates opportunities at the grassroots
Brampton - Elizabeth Gyurán was in the Brampton Public Library when she saw the flyer. It was promoting MakerSpace Brampton, a unique program developed by the City of Brampton, Sheridan College and the Library to make advanced technology generally available to Brampton residents and businesses. Her first thought was that it might be a fun thing for her family to try. Her husband, a car buff, was excited at the prospect of 3D printing for car parts that are no longer available. She wasn’t thinking about how it would change her home-based business.
But it did.
“MakerSpace Brampton has set me on a whole new path,” says Gyurán, owner of Pick Pocket Designs, and designer and manufacturer of the handbags she sells. “When I saw the 3D printer, I got to thinking about what I could do with it.”
Her thoughts went to an Old World technique called leather moulding. With a 3D printer at her disposal and expert guidance from Sheridan College faculty, she began experimenting with a new way to expand her product line.
“I’m printing moulds, making shapes that you normally could not do, or at least would be very difficult to do,” Gyurán says. “It has been an incredible opportunity to have access to this new and emerging technology and being able to try it for free. Once you start trying it, your mind starts racing about what you can do with it. You start thinking about different ways of using it and how it can be useful. You realize you can do stuff you could never have done before.”
MakerSpace Brampton is bringing technology and programs for all ages to inspiremore stories like Gyurán’s.
The unique and innovative partnership behind it is providing free access to new technology, tools, expertise, programs and events where people like Gyurán can brainstorm, network and build on their ideas. Rebecca Raven, Chief Executive Officer of the Library, which acts as the host of MakerSpace, refers to it as a “Collaboratory.”
“It’s a sandbox, a neutral space where people can come together and share and trade ideas and build on the expertise of one another,” she says. “It is a space where people are germinating ideas that could go anywhere.”
Experts from Sheridan College lead workshops on new technologies, including 3D printing, robotics, architecture and others, while City of Brampton Economic Development and Library staff deliver seminars that inspire creative thinking, and support learning through hands-on exploration.
Sheridan has been a leader in driving new technologies with its Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies, but wanted to expand the opportunities presented by the school to a grassroots audience.
“Science, technology, engineering and math are critical to the economic development of any region,” says Dr. Farzad Rayegani, Director of Sheridan’s advanced manufacturing centre. “A strong economy must rely on the production of something. If we don’t produce, the economy won’t be strong enough to support the services we cherish, like healthcare, policing and education. With MakerSpace Brampton, we are bringing the community together to build something and boldly say that we are still a nation of manufacturing.”
The MakerSpace Brampton programs aim to:
Promote economic growth through innovation
Provide opportunities for people to develop an interest, confidence and creativity in technology
Support 21st century learning using educational technologies to apply knowledge to new situations, analyze information, collaborate, solve problems and make decisions
Facilitate connections between entrepreneurs and practical resources for commercialization
Contribute to the stability and growth of the creative economy
Support peer-to-peer learning and foster connections with others in the community.
“At its heart, MakerSpace Brampton is an effort by the City to inspire creative thinkers and drive innovation through collaboration and collision,” says Kelly Stahl, Senior Advisor, Creative Economy in the Economic Development Office. “We are offering a real opportunity for informal, project-driven, self-directed learning, providing workspace to experiment and gather insight from peers with similar interests.”