March 20, 2020

Updated Notice to Membership: Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCOG) on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Regarding Use of TVCOG Facilities:


In spite of our best efforts to remain open to members, additional mandates from Governor Cuomo’s office to limit the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19, require Tech Valley Center of Gravity to lock its doors as of 8pm on Sunday, March 22, 2020. No one will be able to enter the facility after this time. Staff will not be on-site.


If you need to retrieve personal items from the facility please do so by 8pm Sunday March 22, 2020. 

Review the Governor's Executive Order mandating 100% Closure of Non-Essential Businesses Statewide.

Some items to consider:

If you are expecting mail at the COG, you may want to consider having your mail forwarded to you. We are not permitted to remain onsite to receive orders or mail deliveries. Delivery services will be holding mail until https://www.usps.com/manage/forward.htm


Pivot operations to produce an essential good or service. If you believe you currently have the manufacturing capabilities to produce high-demand items please reach out to the Center for Economic Growth BGS here. The Governor is also encouraging any company with the proper equipment or personnel to begin to manufacture PPE products if possible. The state is willing to provide funding to any company to obtain the proper equipment and personnel. Businesses interested in receiving state funding to manufacture PPE products should contact Eric Gertler at 212-803-3100 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Keep up-to-date with what’s happening with COVID-19 around New York State:

Rensselaer County Department of Health

Center for Economic Growth

Troy City Hall

Rensselaer County Regional Chamber of Commerce

New York State Department of Health

Center for Disease Control and Prevention


Stay tuned for updates from Tech Valley Center of Gravity. We are planning to offer online classes and virtual Tuesday social nights as soon as possible, along with other online activities and events for our members.


Tech Valley Center of Gravity will continue to do its absolute best to service and communicate to our membership throughout this pandemic national emergency. Our cancellations and additional rules for usage are based on compliance with state and national mandates, which are being updated regularly. We encourage members to maintain their memberships and innovation space payments; your support is always critical to our existence, but especially needed through this very difficult time.

Thank you for your continued support.


Best,
Cheryl

Cheryl L. Kennedy,  Executive Director

Tech Valley Center of Gravity

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


March 16, 2020

Updated Notice to Membership: Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCOG) on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Regarding Use of TVCOG Facilities

As information and guidance is being distributed from Governor Cuomo’s office to help limit the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19, Tech Valley Center of Gravity is implementing additional safety measures including cancellation of remaining events, classes, and trainings, as well as other social distancing strategies, indefinitely.

 

Notice of Cancellation of Events and Activities; Suspension of Volunteer Program:

1. All scheduled classes and zone training are cancelled and will be rescheduled. TVCOG  will reach out to registrants to issue credit or refunds. TVCOG will reach out to instructors, at the appropriate time, to reschedule classes.


2. All volunteer shifts are cancelled. Please do not report to the facility for volunteer shifts.


3. Social Night is cancelled. Activities associated with group cooking and sharing of communal food are prohibited. Abiding CDC guidance for gatherings is part of being an “Excellent” COG member.

4. The THINQubator is closed until further notice.

For those who have the capability to work from home during this time, we encourage you to do so.  Currently, the facility is open to members for work and projects, during the hours which coincide with their membership.   

 

Additional Rules for TVCOG Members during COVID-19

At present and for the foreseeable future, for the safety of membership and staff during contingent operations, we require that members comply with the following rules when engaging at Tech Valley Center of Gravity:

1. Upon entering the facility, please immediately visit the kitchen or restrooms to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

2. Please abstain from bringing guests into the facility. Work-related meetings should be conducted by phone or videoconference. 

3. We ask that members work at least 6 feet away from each other, using separate table and desk areas. We generally have more than enough space to observe this policy

4. The clean station located in the community kitchen has disinfectant spray, paper towels, and hand soap or antibacterial wipes available. Please wash down stations and desks before and after you use them, so that you can ensure the station’s cleanliness for your own use and that of other members. If a station is out of supplies, please alert staff in person or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

5. During this time, we ask that you not bring your children to the facility while you work. While we are a family-friendly facility, all NYS schools are currently closed to assist in slowing the spread of Coronavirus. In order to observe the intended impact of this closure, we ask that you not bring your children to the facility while you work.


If you are not feeling well, or have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have been at a public event that is correlated with a known case of COVID-19, please stay home. 

The TVCOG Board of Directors and Staff will continue to monitor the status of Coronavirus (COVID-19), updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will post public updates on our website at https://www.tvcog.net/about/whats-news.

Please help mitigate the spread of COVID-19: sanitize diligently, wash hands regularly (for at least 20 seconds), and stay home if you feel sick.

Tech Valley Center of Gravity will continue to do its absolute best to service and communicate to our membership throughout this pandemic national emergency. Our cancellations and additional rules for usage are based on compliance with state and national mandates, which are being updated regularly. We encourage members to maintain their memberships and innovation space payments; your support is always critical to our existence, but especially needed through this very difficult time.

Thank you for your continued support,

TVCOG Staff

 

 



March 12, 2020

Important Notice from Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCOG) on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Regarding Public Use of TVCOG Facilities:

As an extra health precaution, we are limiting public use of TVCOG facilities, and will be temporarily closed to the public for tours and events, until further notice. First Lego Lego League’s final team meetings on 03/13 and their banquet on 03/20 are cancelled and will be rescheduled.

Signs will be posted at the entrance of the facility indicating the temporary public closure, and directing them to the website.

Only members (and their supervised guests) will be allowed in TVCOG (this includes Tech Valley Game Space members).

TO ALL MEMBERS:
If you are not feeling well, or have been in contact with a person with COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have been at a public event that is correlated with a known case of COVID-19, please stay home. 

Members should be advised that older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart of lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. Please consult with your health care provider about additional steps you may be able to take to protect yourself. We are aware of several members who have compromised immune systems and ask that all members be mindful of their interactions within the facility.

Again, members are allowed to use the facility and in addition to our temporary public closure, TVCOG has provided a clean station area, in addition to standing bathroom and sink areas that are supplied with hand soap and paper towels. The clean station has disinfectant spray, paper towels, and hand soap or antibacterial wipes available. Please wash down zone tables before and after you use them, so that you can ensure the station’s cleanliness for your own use and that of other members.If the clean station is out of supplies, please alert staff in person or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please return cleaning supplies back to the clean station and please do not remove cleaning supplies from the facility. 

Our currently scheduled classes at TVCOG are not cancelled. As our classes are very small, and generally composed of members, we believe that continuing them poses minimal risk to the community. However, we will be offering refunds for registrants who would prefer to reschedule. 

We will continue to monitor the status of Coronavirus (COVID-19), updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and will post public updates on our website.

Please help mitigate the spread of COVID-19: sanitize diligently, wash hands regularly (for at least 20 seconds), and stay home if you feel sick.

Thank you for your continued support,

TVCOG Staff

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2020

Media Contacts
Tech Valley Center of Gravity: Cheryl Kennedy
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    (518) 244-3544     
Center for Economic Growth: Michael Lobsinger
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    (518) 465-8975 x 238

FACE SHIELD PROTECTION PRODUCTION COLLABORATION 

Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Center for Economic Growth, Benét Laboratories, and Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency “facing up” to COVID-19 to produce up to 500 protective face shields

Troy, NY –Multiple projects related to personal protective equipment (PPE) devices have launched from Tech Valley Center of Gravity during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) available to health care professionals has become increasingly problematic as COVID-19 cases continue to surge worldwide.

A partnership between Center for Economic Growth (CEG), Benét Laboratories, Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCoG), supported and sponsored by Rensselaer County Industrial Agency (RCIDA) will produce a volume of 3D printed face shields between the Watervliet Arsenal and the Tech Valley Center of Gravity’s Prototyping Center.

Led by CEG, who sponsored the initial production pilot partnership with Benét Laboratories, the project is now funded to scale up production with financial support from the Rensselaer County Industrial Agency.  The project uses a modified open source PRUSA design to create face shields for protection of the facial area and associated mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth) from splashes, sprays, and spatter of body fluids. Used in conjunction with other protective gear, face shields can offer greater protection from COVID-19 transmission than surgical masks and eye protection alone.

The Tech Valley Center of Gravity is coordinating this project and will distribute to local organizations in the Capital Region through an ordering system anticipated to launch from their website next week.Orders will be available for arranged pick up or for delivery by staff and volunteers; hospitals, medical clinics, and “essential service” organizations dealing with the public will be prioritized. The combined efforts of the facilities will be able to produce 50 to 75 face shields per week. 

Mr. Michael Lobsinger, Tech Valley Center of Gravity Board Chair and Senior Vice President of Business Growth at Center for Economic Growth has been managing production at the TVCoG Prototyping Center and is leading this project with CEG’s Mr. Tom Bell, Project Director for Technology Services, “In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Center of Economic Growth has been able to leverage an extensive manufacturing network to not only assist in compliance with NYS executive orders, but to assist in pivoting multiple operations to manufacturing protective personal equipment. We sponsor the Stratasys 3-D Printer in the Prototyping Center at the TVCoG for just this type of purpose, and were quick to utilize it for this opportunity.”

Mr. Robert Pasinella, Executive Director, Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency, stated “Rensselaer County IDA is committed to support Tech Valley Center of Gravity, Benét Laboratories, and Center for Economic Growth to develop, produce, and distribute this protective equipment in the Capital Region. Critical PPE supply shortages are expected across the United States, and it is important that County and City governments proactively support initiatives that ensure we have adequate supplies.”

Benét Laboratoriesis an integral partner in the project, providing assistance to ramp up production quickly. Mr. Ken Marks and Dr. Elaine Humiston have coordinated the effort and stated, “Center for Economic Growth engaged us early on this project and that has given us the opportunity to collaborate on the improvements to existing open source computer-aided design (CAD) of a face shield that allows printing of the headgear faster and has the appropriate fit. Those of us with Stratasys 3D printers, or similar, should look at assisting in these types of projects right now.”

The anticipated supply shortages for personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic is being addressed by a variety of industries across New York State. As manufacturers pivot to assist during this crisis, makerspaces and incubators with production abilities, become pivotal to hosting partnerships that create capacity.


In addition to this collaboration, TVCoG’s Facilities and Incubator Director, Mr. Dan Falkenstrom is 3D printing the open source Verkstan face shield design on a PRUSA MK2s, experimenting with using transparency sheets donated from Emma Willard School, as supplies to create the transparent portion of the shield become more difficult to source. Organizations interested in donating clear sheet materials such as PETG (.020) are encouraged to contact TVCoG at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Several TVCoG members are also making face shields on home 3D printers, as well as sewing cloth face masks. The Center of Gravity will act as a collection and redistribution center for donated PPE using a new, closeable garbage bin donated from City of Troy, which was modified at the TVCoG to function as a locked collection receptacle. This bin will be accessible in the Third Street vestibule from 2:00pm to 5:00pm every Wednesday and Thursday for drop off of PPE supplies from their members and the general public who are making face shields and masks from home.

# # #

About Benet Labs

Benét Laboratoriesis a Department of the Army R & D facility located at the Watervliet Arsenal in New York. Benét is a part of the Weapons & Software Engineering Center (WSEC), Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CCDC AC), which is located at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

The primary mission of Benét Laboratories is to conduct the research, design and development of advanced launch mechanism, cannon mortars, recoilless rifles and other related components. Benét's major disciplinary strengths are in high strength materials, mechanical engineering, fracture mechanics, fatigue, refractory metal plating and producibility engineering and weaponization of advanced concepts.

Benét Laboratories' facilities are focused on quickly transitioning technology into design concepts and rapidly providing customers working prototypes primarily for Army programs and project managers, but increasingly supporting commercial and industrial partners.

 

About Center for Economic Growth

The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is the Capital Region’s regional economic development organization, with over 265 investors in business, government, education, and the not-for-profit sectors. CEG serves as a regional technology center under the New York Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NYMEP) program, which is facilitated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and New York Empire State Development Division of Science, Technology and Innovation.

 

About Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency

The Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency (RCIDA) is dedicated to promoting economic developmentand vitality within Rensselaer County. Governed by a seven-member board, the RCIDAhas the authority to offer sales and property tax incentives, grants and low-cost capital to attract and retain businesses.

 

About Tech Valley Center of Gravity 

Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCoG) is a makerspace, prototyping center, manufacturing incubator, STEAM-education center and creative community located in the heart of downtown Troy, New York. A member-supported 501(c)(3) community resource organization, the Center of Gravity serves members from Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties by providing low-cost access to equipment, tools, technology and space, as well as business expertise, education and resources.

The Manufacturing Incubator at TVCoG provides expert coaching and incubation across industries, advisory services and support for product-related startups. For members launching entrepreneurial ventures, we offer resources for product development through the Prototyping Center, with its advanced manufacturing equipment and flexible workspace.