A typical day at STREAM labs starts with a hot cup of freshly roasted Nelson-brewed coffee.
The sun is just coming over the mountains and streaming warm natural light into the community workspaces that are already starting to fill in for the morning.
Jane Deer has just parked her electric bike outside – she created an electric motor that clips onto her mountain bike for short commutes. It took here 19 fails to get it right with lots of input and trial runs from friends. Her motor works perfectly now and it recharges itself using sunlight. Word has gotten out and now everybody wants one.
John Doe is on the phone with Burton Snowboards discussing the final adjustments to his “no-board” prototype – a strapless snowboard that he invented with his 9 year old son. With materials and tools readily available at STREAM labs, John and his son were able to test several versions of their final product right here in the Kootenays and share his ideas with the local ski hills and cat ski outfits. He will meet his son after school here for Tech Club because they can’t wait to get started on their next new project together.
At the lounge-style meeting space in the corner of the room, a group of KSA students are comparing their 3-D design drawings on their laptops. Today they will be taking their second class in 3-D modelling and will already be learning how to print out their first set of designs. The excitement is palpable because their final designs will be used as dye casts in their jewellery class. They heard there is a talent scout coming from Vancouver to check out their talent for new custom lines.
Upstairs the researchers that just flew in from UBC’s Marine Biology program are getting to know their instructor in person. They’ve done a few classes together online using STREAM lab’s high tech conferencing room, and now they are meeting face to face to see if they can develop a 3-D model together. They are testing a new channel mechanism that could one day help ocean salmon bypass the Columbia River dams. It is hard to believe that the Arrow Lakes used to be the spawning grounds for over 3 million ocean salmon. They are hoping that one day their invention will help them return.
In the workshop down the hall the equipment and machines are just warming up for a day of grinding, sawing, cutting and drilling. There is a community class for seniors at noon and a kids class after school at 3. The instructor has organized a weekend open studio to get the two groups together and see what they can learn from each other.
The day’s activities are numerous and diverse with bootcamps, incubation seminars and a “tech-tour” organized for interested tourists.
As the day winds down, the hustle and bustle eventually calms to a quiet hum of social chatter. Late evening has come and the day is done. The last person shuts the lights and all is quiet until tomorrow when we start “making” at STREAM labs all over again.