Pittsburgh Technical Council

Round It Up! Gimme Some of that PTC Member News

Round It Up! Gimme Some of that PTC Member News

Article Published: December 14, 2015

It keeps coming and we keep serving it up -- PTC members making headlines! Thrill Mill's deadline approaches for the 4th cycle; Eaton makes a video; Simcoach Games is behind the Darwin Synthetic Interview and the Jewish Healthcare Foundation embraces tech to connect senior citizens.

Thrill Mill Launches Fourth Application Cycle

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 At 11.39.09 AMThrill Mill, Inc., an early-stage startup accelerator located in East Liberty, has officially launched its fourth application cycle. Applications can be found at www.thrillmill.com, and remain open through 11:59 pm on Friday, December 18.  

In line with previous years’ application rounds, Thrill Mill seeks startups across a broad range of industries. "We're committed to extending the best possible advice and support to all types of entrepreneurs — from those building software technology companies, to family businesses, to nonprofits," says Thrill Mill co-founder and CEO Bobby Zappala. Thrill Mill has grown dramatically during its first three years. 

Darwin Synthetic Interview” Now Available for iPhone/iPad and Android

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 At 11.40.40 AMReleased in time for Charles Darwin’s 207th birthday on Feb. 12, 2016, “Darwin Synthetic Interview” makes it possible to learn about the work and life of the famous evolutionist by interviewing the man himself. Created for use in traditional learning environments and homes by inquisitive learners of all ages, the app was conceptualized by Emmy Award-winning producer and neuroscientist John A. Pollock,Ph.D., Director of The Partnership in Education.

Originally developed for exhibition at museums and use in school curriculum, “Darwin Synthetic Interview” was displayed on large, interactive screens to great acclaim at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Science Center and Philadelphia’s American Philosophical Society Museum, and a desktop version was adapted into middle school curriculum by Pittsburgh City Schools. The new app version, “dramatically changes accessibility,” explains Pollock. “Anyone with a smart phone, iPad or Android now has the opportunity to learn about evolution in a dynamic and engaging way, and the user interface is very intuitive.” 

Available through iTunesGoogle Play and the Amazon App Store, the full version, featuring 199 questions and more than four hours of content, can be downloaded for $9.99; a “Lite” version is also available for free.

Jewish Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees Approves $1.5 Million in Grants

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 At 11.39.48 AMThe Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) Board of Trustees approved grants totaling $1.5 million, including grants to: improve quality of life for homebound elders by launching the Virtual Senior Center in Pittsburgh; provide startup funding for a program to identify and treat perinatal depression; establish the Stuart Altman Endowed Chair at Brandeis University; renew its block grant to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh; and renew its contribution to the United Way of Allegheny County’s Impact Fund.

The Virtual Senior Center is a web-based, touch-screen platform that allows seniors to interact via virtual groups and field trips, social activities, classes, and games. The Virtual Senior Center was developed by Selfhelp, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the independence of seniors that was originally founded to support Holocaust survivors.

The platform has been tested and proven effective in New York, with the majority of the 200-plus elders using the Virtual Senior Center reporting improved quality of life and health status. JHF, which is providing up to $240,000 for the Virtual Senior Center in 2016 and 2017, will remain closely involved in the development and expansion of the platform locally.

“The Virtual Senior Center builds on the Foundation’s 25-year commitment to improving – and redefining – the golden years for our region’s seniors,” says JHF President and CEO Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD.

Eaton and ASSET Partner to Make “Career Connection” Videos

Screen Shot 2015-12-14 At 11.38.33 AMSTEM Education nonprofit organization ASSET recently collaborated with Eaton to develop “Career Connection” videos that link a student lesson to what people do in real life for a profession.  

One of the first videos created supports the “Electrical Circuits” unit for 4th graders. This video is now part of the 4th grade curriculum at elementary schools across Pennsylvania and the United States.

Eaton is a global technology leader in power management solutions that make electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power operate more efficiently, reliably, safely and sustainably.

ASSET STEM Education™ is a national education improvement nonprofit. It fosters STEM fluency and college/career readiness by providing all educators of students Pre-K through career with professional development, hands-on educational materials and consulting services. Each year ASSET’s programs impact more than 7,000 educators and 225,000 students both inside and outside of the classroom.

Watch the video courtesy of ASSET STEM Education here.  


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