Innovation& EngineeringWeekend

Previous Published by Frost Science Museum


Do you ever try to imagine what Miami will look like in 5, 10, or even 50 years? Miami is a vibrant city, the gateway to Latin America for business, and a must-see destination for travelers around the world. However, Miami also faces major challenges in it’s future, including a growing population with a shrinking amount of land. In February, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science decided to tackle these challenges head on by engaging in a discussion with the community on how they want to build the city of the future, and showcasing some amazing inventions and ideas from local innovation leaders at our annual Innovation and Engineering Weekend, sponsored by Wells Fargo, Ryder Corporation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In total, the four days of events engaged over 2,100 visitors and community members.

The event kicked off on Thursday, February 19, with the museum and CappSci announcing a five-year, $1 million CappSci Inventors program to develop innovative solutions in the health and environmental sectors. In 2015, two prizes will be offered: one for the best invention to restore coral reefs, and one for the best invention to help people reduce their exposure to carcinogens. We are so honored to be working with CappSci and know this is an incredible opportunity for leaders in these fields. Following the announcement, a panel moderated by Rebecca Fishman Lipsy, CEO of Radical Partners, discussed the role of competition in advancing science. The panelist included Dr. Andrew Baker, coral reef expert from University of Miami RSMAS, Dr. Maurice Ferre, Jr., Co-Founder of Mako Surgical, and Dr. Nicholas Lambrou, Medical Director and Gynecologic Oncologist at South Miami Hospital.

Thursday night, the museum held its second installment of its popular Science Up Close evening event series, featuring Dr. Roldolphe el-Khoury, Dean of UM School of Architecture. His talk, “Inhabiting the Internet of Things,” discussed how the city of the future will include homes and environments that are based in a network of communication, creating a responsive community habitat. We will no longer have stand-alone devices, but an ecosystem of invisible and subtle technology. Ten distinguished guest facilitators who are leaders in innovative thought, encouraged and continued conversations with guests well into the evening. There were live performances by the Frost School of Music and craft beers courtesy of Wynwood Brewing Company.

Innovative thinkers were up early the next morning, Friday, February 20, to attend a CreativeMornings/Miami session on climate change. The museum’s Chief Science Officer, Dr. Eldredge Bermingham, presented the on how climate change and innovation will collide here in Miami and impact the new Museum.

Later that morning, a select group of architecture magnet students from Miami Coral Park Senior High took part in a workshop led by Gehl Studio, an international architectural firm that specializes in reinventing the use of public spaces, and blew everyone away with their creative and insightful ideas to improve Miami. Their imaginations came up with a variety of thoughtful and realistic solutions for addressing challenges from changes in energy, the environment, transportation, and architecture and design in the city of the future.

Gehl Studio continued fostering Miami’s future when community stakeholders, including government officials, local entrepreneurs, leaders in the community Maker’s movement, architects, and scientists, participated in a similar workshop contributing many thought-provoking avenues to collaborate and create deeper change in our city. It was a truly invigorating session. We look forward to seeing its effects on our upcoming Innovation Center and in the relationships that came out of the session.

Later that evening, in celebration of Global PechaKucha Night, several enlightening speakers discussed their take on the four themes of the weekend including architecture and design, energy, the environment and transportation. Local young professionals and key tastemakers were invited by the Frost Science Young Patrons to enjoy an evening of fun in an intellectual atmosphere. The City of the Future PechaKucha Night 20×20 presenters included:

  • Camille Coley, JD, Assistant Vice President for Research and Associate Director of Florida Atlantic University’s Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center discussing the use of ocean currents as a means to produce energy.
  • David Rifkind, Associate Professor of Architecture at Florida International University discussing the idea (and real possibility) of net-zero houses.
  • Meg Daly, Founder and President of The Underline discussing the importance of turning Miami into a bike friendly city and the benefits of biking as a mode of transportation.
  • Stephen Davis, PhD, Director of Science & Policy for the Everglades Foundation discussing how sea level rise is impacting the Everglades, and in turn threatening our fresh water supply.
  • Trevor Powers, Vice President of Engineering & Facilities of the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science discussing how the new Museum is incorporating all of these considerations in its design and construction.

Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed libations courtesy of Tito’s Vodka, Mandarine Napoléon, ZIOBAFFA, Lucky Buddha and Lemon City Tea, music by Dani Nicole, and gifts from Aesop, while making their very own pottery through a special Maker’s activity. The evening concluded by the “raku” kiln fire while the pottery was cured for guests to take home.

Then the grand finale: Innovation & Engineering family weekend on Saturday, February 21 and Sunday, February 22!

So many visitors could not stop talking about all that was offered. They got a chance to share their ideas and vision on the Gehl Studio ‘City of the Future’ wall. Afterwards, they took part in a plethora of activities, including witnessing the fashion of the future with designs from DesignLab Miami students, participating in technology of the future such as the 3D Immersive experience with augmented reality and Oculus Rift goggles administered by Dr. Winifred Newman and Zhaohui Jennifer Fu of FIU School of Architecture, and learning about engineering through Maker’s activities held by Best Buy and others in the museum’s Best Buy Teen Tech Center.

Many loved the robot obstacle courses/fighting ring brought by Starbot, a future partner of the museum, dedicated to teaching youth about engineering. BYO-Lab, Miami Industrial Arts, and StuffMaker 3D USA showed how 3D printers can be used to create molds to mass-produce building elements quickly. More Maker’s activities were conducted catering to early childhood, fashionistas, and designers.

There was plenty to do outside as well, where we concentrated on energy and the environment. Families learned about solar ovens and took home potted seeds to start a healthy urban garden of their own. Lots of university students also contributed to the fun by leading activities around water filtration, sustainable engineering, and impacts on the environment from natural and human-caused factors.

Guests also had the opportunity to view Miami Cityscapes, an art installation demonstrating how renowned local artists foresee the city of the future. The participating artists were: Jenny Brillhart, Pablo Cano, Felice Grodin, Maritza Molina, Emmett Moore, Leyden Casanova Rodriguez, Cesar Santos, Monica of TM Sisters, and Agustina Woodgate. Also on display over the weekend was an immersive light installation by Matthew Schreiber in the museum’s Planetarium.