REAP | Research Entrepreneurs Accelerating Prosperity | My Experiences Working at the Felt Lab

My name is Filip Jadczak, and this has been my first term working with REAP. I am a student at the University of Waterloo in the Global Business and Digital Arts program, so naturally the work I do in my classes fits in well with what is going on at REAP. I originally heard about the opportunities at the Felt Lab through another student in my program, so once things started back up after the summer I got involved as soon as I could.

My experiences at REAP have been invaluable. Beyond just the work experience that is offered, there are weekly lunch and learn sessions at the Felt Lab. I have been regularly attending these sessions and through them, I’ve connected with professionals, artists, and fellow technology enthusiasts in the field. I’ve learned about interesting topics and taken part in activities as well. Some memorable ones were the rapid prototyping workshop hosted by Boltmade, the thinkering session for the MaRS Innovation Centre, and the Structur3D 3D printing session.

When I started at REAP in September, I was given my first project. At REAP projects are called ‘sprints’, as they are meant to be a quick test of a piece of technology for a certain purpose to see if it should be used in that way. My task was to install an app called Apptui onto the lab computers and devices, and customize it for the lab. Apptui allows the user to control a computer using a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, in place of a mouse and keyboard. I found it fascinating as I had never heard of it before — but it was just the first of many remarkable pieces of technology I encountered in the Felt Lab!

After completing my first project, I filled out a report to explain what I did with the technology, what worked and what didn’t, and whether it should continue to be used in the lab. I also gave my own presentation alongside two other students at our own Felt Lab Friday session!

My second project at the lab, which I am currently still working on, is developing interactive apps for the various screens in the Felt Lab. I actually suggested this project myself, as I had noticed that while we do have lots of touch screens in the lab, people don’t always interact or play with them during the Felt Lab Fridays. I wanted to give visitors to the lab a chance to play with the technology instead of just looking at it. You can find my work on the MicroTile wall in the lab — look for an application called “Fridge Magnets!”

Overall I have greatly enjoyed working in the Felt Lab. It has given me the chance to encounter, examine and play with a variety of devices I would not normally have access to otherwise. This, along with my course work at the university, is constantly inspiring new ideas in my mind. There’s so much I want to do, and the Felt Lab is just the beginning. It has become a great launch pad into a future of possibilities for me, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the team here.

You can always find me in the lab on Fridays. I hope you come to our Lunch and Learns and become part of our community! See you there!