Maker Studio in the News

Maker Studio, Techlicious 2015

Maker Studio won the Techlicious Best of 2015 NY Toy Fair Award!

Maker’s Studio made quite the impression during it’s release at the 2015 New York Toy Fair this February, winning the Best of Toy Fair award from Techlicious, making numerous Top 10 Lists (listed below), and receiving glowing reviews for its take on open-end play.  Co-inventors David Yakos, of Salient Technologies, Inc., and maker Parker Thomas teamed up with toy and game producers, ThinkFun to create the open-play concept toy.  Three Maker Studio sets have been released: Propellers, Gear and Winches, and the included Engineering Challenge Cards encourage kids in problem solving and thinking outside the box.  Built by engineers for budding engineers, ThinkFun’s Maker Studio puts creativity back in play.

Check out some of the great reviews at these links:


April 14, 2015: No Monsters In My Bed Blog Review of Maker Studio

April 13, 2015: The House of Boys…And a Girl Blog Review of Maker Studio

April 13, 2015: Cummin’s Life Blog Review of Maker Studio

March 6, 2015: KBZK News Piece on Bozeman local, David Yakos & the invention of Maker Studio

February 20, 2015: Maker Studio named in the CNET “Most Amazing Stuff of Toy Fair 2015” list

February 19, 2015: Maker Studio named in GeekDad’s Top 10 of NY Toy Fair 2015

Techlicious Best of Toy Fair 2015 Award

Techlicious Best of Toy Fair 2015 Award

February 19, 2015: Makezine is all about Maker Studio promoting the make-movement

February 19, 2015: The Maker Studio pieces “feel great, fit together well, and demand open-ended play”, says Amy Kraft of Makeroni

February 18, 2015: Kidscreen ranks Maker Studio in their favoriate non-tech toys

February 18, 2015: DadDoes places Maker Studio on the “Good” end of his article, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Toy Fair 2015

February 16, 2015: Out of 150,000 products, Maker Studio is awarded Techlicious Best of Toy Fair 2015 List along with 7 others

February 11, 2015: Reuter’s Magazine lists ThinkFun’s Maker Studio as a great toy for kids who want to “build, do and explore!”

February 7, 2015: The Making of and Inspiration behind Maker Studio

If you’re into videos, check out the Made by Bella series – where Bella and her Friends work through the Engineering Challenges of Maker Studio

Made by Bella

Made by Bella – creating a Princess Carriage with Maker Studio

Salient Product Design Mentorship

In partnership with HATCH, Salient is excited to announce we are now accepting applications for the 2015 Product Design Mentorship!

Launching in just a few short weeks, Salient will accept up to 6 candidates for our hands-on Mentorship.  Good applicants are students who are (most likely) pursuing degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Industrial Design, Product Design or it’s equivalent – OR, those who have a marked interest in Product Design and the skills necessary to contribute to the program.

The Salient Mentorship is created in partnership with the HATCH 360 Mentorship that uses a bottom-up and peer to peer approach to build meaningful relationships, share knowledge and expertise, and challenge each other.

All students will be coached by Salient Technology owners – David Yakos and Stephen Sanford on Salient’s 3 Phase Design Process: 1) Concept Design, 2) Prototype Development, and 3) Design for Manufacturing, and invited to participate in all three ares on an actual project.

The Mentorship is not paid, nor is it for credit. The Application Deadline is Thursday, February 19th, and Classes will be held from 3 PM – 5 PM, Thursdays, March 5th, March 19th, April 2nd, and April 16th. Some work will be required outside of class time.

Email for more information and application forms.


Salient Mentorship

Thank You, Teach!


The Lincoln Middle School Students having a go at using the Wacom tablet during their tour of Salient

This last Friday and Saturday, I had the privilege of leading 20 junior high students and 10 high school students through the product design process here at Salient Technologies headquarters. The students traveled to Bozeman to take part in a FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics competition.  Picture an intense basketball tournament with dozens of teams, but instead of winning because you can put an orange ball through a metal circle, a team wins by completing complex challenges performed by a robot they built and created.  The teachers coaching the team reached out to Salient for a tour and inside-look in aims to inspire kids to pursue careers in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), more specifically, design and engineering.  It’s funny how things come full circle sometimes. Little did they, or we,  know that the teacher leading the charge for the high school team was my first design/engineering/CAD teacher from nearly 20 years prior… a teacher who inspired me in the very same way.

The tour of Salient consisted of an inside look at the Design Process: what it looks like to take a product from imagination all the way to production.  After working on thousands of products over the years, we were able to reference a handful of fun examples from NASA valves, to familiar household games like Yahtzee.  We looked at industrial design, drawing in 3D CAD (and using Wacom tablets!), video animations, renderings, structural design and designing for manufacturing.  It was just the kind of stuff I was first introduced to in the very same class this teacher was teaching in the mid 90s.


David’s first CAD file – a Hummer…go figure.

During the tour, I pulled out an old, yellowed drawing to share with the group.  It was my very first CAD drawing – a side view of a Humvee drawn under the open-ended instruction of the very same teacher.  It was drawn in 2D AutoCAD back when just printing in color was ground-breaking technology.  I hung onto that simple drawing because it was an exciting discovery for me. It was where I first encountered a new tool that could help amplify my artistic and creative ability. It was the first time I got my hands on the same type of technology I now use almost every day in my exciting career.

On behalf of designers and engineers everywhere, I wanted to say thank you to the teachers who inspired creativity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  In this specific case, Thank You, Mr. Ruble, for fostering a place of inspiration!


The whole crew of Lincoln Middle Schools’ FIRST program on their tour at Salient Technologies, with NERF guns in tow.


The infamous Mr. Ruble and the FIRST crew from Lincoln High School wrapping up their Salient tour.

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