Born as an initiative from one of our colleagues at the Materialise China office, Tom Yan, the Silk Road project aims to spur innovation and development in the Western part of China. Together with Chinese charity organization, Adream, and TEACH, a company that provides courses on 3D Printing, Materialise organized a mobile Dream Bus, that will drive through Western China and stop in several locations to allow local children to learn about 3D Printing.
Tom Yan, the mastermind behind the project, wanted to achieve several things with the initiative. First of all, he wanted to do something to drive innovation and development in China. Western China in particular is a less developed and more rural part of the country, and by providing the schoolchildren in those areas with educational opportunities Materialise is able to live up to its mission statement: making the world a healthier and better place.
After a year of hard work creating the project, our Dream Bus is finally on the road and will drive through six provinces, stopping at a total of 14 places. The Dream Bus, sponsored by Adream, is fully equipped with desks, chairs, projectors and anything else an actual classroom would need. It will stay at each stop for a few days, with a Materialise volunteer teaching the local children how to design their own 3D models on a tablet. They will then get to 3D print their own designs on the desktop printers in the bus, provided by TEACH.
So far, the bus has stopped at four places and our Materialise volunteers were proud to see how motivated and interested the students were in 3D Printing. The children were even more excited that they got to actually print – and keep – their very own designs! We hope that this initial contact with 3D Printing will spur them on to keep learning about the technology and eventually lead them to create more wonderful things. And if the Dream Bus turns out to be as well-received on the rest of the Silk Road as on these first stops, we’ll be able to expand the project even further next year.