Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D

Ames, Iowa (May 2017) – Parametric Studio Inc. announced it has been awarded a $900,000 U.S. Department of Education Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant  through the Dept. of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). This prestigious, highly competitive (less than 10% of businesses are awarded) grant has been awarded to Parametric Studio Inc. to conduct research and development (R&D) work on engineering-centric and project-based STEM games, software, kits and curricula for elementary and middle school math, science, and integrated STEM classrooms.  A short demonstration video of this product may be found at: https://youtu.be/DC1iTxzx40o.

Parametric Studio Inc. combines a supporting standards-based curriculum, with real engineering design tools, approachable interfaces, gaming, 3-D printing, and hands on prototyping to create novel STEM solutions for the classroom, camps, or for home.  The software being developed is called DESCARTES which 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.  The comprehensive curricula, and challenges, run on existing IT infrastructure in schools, are directly tied to numerous science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) standards in place in all 50 states, and the software environment assists teachers in quantitatively and qualitatively understanding how students are mastering these skills and concepts.

This Phase II award is a two-year period in which the product is first refined then released across the country for beta testing before finally being released as a commercially available product.  This will involve developing tools, engineering challenges, software modules for designing, boats, airships, construction machines, and submarines just to name a few.  It will also allow large scale beta testing in schools, and in various education and other delivery settings.  To date, DESCARTES has been successfully implemented in several month-long units with over 200 fourth-graders, and has shown dramatic improvements in student performance outcomes and engagement.  When completed, DESCARTES will join Parametric’s other K-12 engineering products for High Schools and Middle schools, called DAVinCI and EDISON.

“STEM education, skills, and careers are absolutely critical to the future of our economy, our country, and our world,” CTO, Parametric Studio Inc.Dr. Christopher Whitmer said. “Everyone will need some level of understanding and proficiency in STEM. The good thing is every child is a little 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.  We at Parametric Studio feel that DESCARTES is that solution, and it can really make a difference in STEM education.”

Parametric Studio Inc is actively looking for partner schools and districts across the country interested in testing and evaluating DESCARTES for implementation in their Math and Science curricula. Teachers, schools, or districts interested in doing so or anyone wishing to learn more about the project and product may contact Parametric Studio at info@parametricstudioinc.com or visit www.parametricstudioinc.com.

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