Congratulations to the Quake Centre, recognised with a global Chevron STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Award, at the 2018 international Fab Lab conference in Toulouse, France.
YOUTH EARTHQUAKE EDUCATION INNOVATION QUAKECRAFT WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD
The award winning entry, Quake Craft was the creation of Quake Centre and Quake Core outreach programme co-ordinatior, Brandy Alger and her project partner, Bridget McKendry, of Fab Lab, Christchurch.
"Winning the award was a complete surprise and we're thrilled about it," says Brandy. "This helps to put the Quake Centre more on the world map and validates that there's real incentive to increase community earthquake awareness, not just in New Zealand, but around the world."
Quake Craft is an entertaining, hands-on way to learn about community and structural resilience, that encourages youth to think about natural disasters and consider different innovative solutions.
An electronically coded shake table (developed by the Quake Centre) replicates seismic movement and its damaging effect on buildings. Students design and construct a variety of model buildings, connected by 3D digitally printed joiners (manufactured by Fab Lab, CHC) before testing the seismic resilience of each structure on the shake table.
"It's all about applying the principles of maths, physics and technology to help raise awareness around earthquake risk and solutions," says Brandy. "Students learn how to best build an earthquake resilient structure - and then attempt to destroy it on the shake table. That's the fun bit!"
The Quake Centre and Fab Lab's collaborative three year development of QuakeCraft was in direct response to the Christchurch earthquakes. The educational tool has already been rolled out to over 20 different schools in New Zealand, predominantly in the South Island.
"Communities that have lived through earthquakes here, understand the significant impact they can have," says Brandy. "Our inspiration was to take the unique experience of the quakes and turn it into a positive learning opportunity."
The shake table can be set to simulate the Christchurch or Kaikoura quakes or even the potential full magnitude rupture of the Alpine Fault. The QuakeCraft coding software can be electronically sent throughout the world and "personalised" to mimic the different intensities of earthquakes such as those in Japan or Mexico City. A local Fab Lab (over 1,200 exist worldwide) can digitally manufacture QuakeCraft parts.
An international panel of judges picked QuakeCraft as the standout of 35 entries from around the world. The USD $5,000 awarded for the win will go towards implementing the electronic kits required for QuakeCraft to go global, to help educate youth in other earthquake prone countries.
Brandy said it feels great to be able to invest this money in seismic education and to think that QuakeCraft has the potential to benefit earthquake community resilience beyond New Zealand's shores.
These sorts of initiatives help address one of QC's core objectives, which is to increase community awareness about the effects of earthquakes and how to be better prepared for such events.