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  • Jonathan Renk

YouthBlogger: Visiting Capital Factory Was a Blast this Summer

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

As a student who has been with River City Youth for many years, I’ve had my fair share of field trips. All of the field trips have been fun yet educational. This one to Capital Factory was no different.

Capital Factory is a place where upcoming entrepreneurs can have support for the start-up they are making or already have in progress. It gives these companies a place to work, to collaborate with likeminded innovators, and to talk with potential investors.

The special thing about this Capital Factory location is that it is the only place in the world where people can test their devices on land, in the air, and underwater. There is a large grass field where one can test land and air devices and a lake that is walking distance away from the building where they can test underwater devices.

The first entrepreneur we met was part of the start up Rapid Robotics. They specialize in making robot arms that are mainly to be used in manufacturing. Because they are robotic arms, they come in at a fairly low cost of around $25,000 annually. That number may seem really high, and yes, it indeed is, but when comparing it to the cost of around $50,000, what an average manufacturing worker makes yearly, it makes sense why these robots are so high in demand. Yet, these robots are still nowhere near perfect.

Another member of Rapid Robotics explained that the code that he makes for the robots is mainly to tell the robot what to do when a problem arises. And there are always new problems that can come up which makes it a long process and why robots are still not a hundred percent dependable.

Further, if a company were to want an actual worker who they were willing to pay the full salary for, it would still be difficult since there is currently a big shortage of workers. It can be seen very clearly that robots are the future, but there are still some things that a good old fashioned human can do better.

Another start up we visited was Gel Blasters. They make toy guns that are an alternative to paintball guns and the popular Nerf guns. These Gel Blasters seem to have the best of both worlds. The ammo they use are called Gellets, which are made of biodegradable materials to make it safer when you are done playing.

We learned that Gel Blasters can go as fast as 170 mph, yet they do not hurt as much as paintballs. When these guns are not in use, you simply turn the safety lock on and the gun will be unable to shoot until switched back off.

The Gel Blasters team gave us a sneak peak at a new prototype they haven't released yet. It was an amazing product and likely to be a must-have if you play often. After the demo, we were given the opportunity to get hands on with some guns that are currently in retail stores. Here's a photo of me trying out one.

The field trip was a great opportunity to learn how start ups work but even more to learn that failures are not the end of the world. One of the members of Rapid Robotics explained that he’s had many start-ups, some successful, some failures but the only way to find out if it will succeed is that you have to believe in yourself.

Also it is safe to say that this experience is going to lead at least a couple of the students to go out and buy a Gel Blaster for themselves. :)

Check out the video of our field trip here.

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