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Northwest Tech Receives Innovative Technology Grant
Kansas Ag Connection - 11/07/2018

Northwest Tech is pleased to announce it has received a $42,750 Innovative Technology Grant from the Kansas Board of Regents. These funds will support the Auto Body and Repair program and will be used to purchase a virtual reality painting simulation device (SimSpray) that will supplement the learning environment in the Auto Body Repair program.

"We are excited to have access to this technology," commented Auto Body Repair instructor, William Morris. "Our students will greatly benefit by being able to go through simulations of different methods before heading into the paint booth. This will save a lot of time and money."

The Auto Body Repair program requires students to experience hands-on learning and real life scenarios in order to prepare them for work in industry. The SimSpray simulator will allow students to solve many body positioning, coating technique, equipment setup, and angle scenarios in a short period of time. Using the traditional method of practice painting makes it difficult for the instructors to provide students with a high variety of circumstances in a short period of time. The SimSpray will allow instructors to isolate certain parts of a structure so students can better understand the concepts. The SimSpray software will also solve the issue of multiple students using the paint booths. Instructors will be able to introduce new methods to their students using the SimSpray before letting them use the spray booth with real materials. This will allow students to create muscle memory and a general sense of a new technique before they enter the paint booth. The SimSpray simulator and software will allow instructors to create interactive auto body scenarios that students will be able to interactively solve onscreen.

The Kansas Board of Regents established the Innovative Technology Grants to award funds to community and technical colleges in Kansas to support innovative technical courses or programs in emerging technologies or areas of skill shortages. The targeted programs for this fund are high growth, high wage and highly skilled occupations with higher than average job vacancy rates or projected growth rates. Successful grant awards must include a strong partnership and alignment with industry.

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