Salina Area Technical College is the recipient of a Matrix Wand, a package of equipment and software that can create a 3D map of an automobile, quickly showing repair technicians what parts are out of position after a collision.
At an event on Friday morning, The Matrix Wand company, which is housed inside Salina Vortex at 1725 Vortex Avenue in Salina, presented the college with a complete Wand system, along with a Mini Cooper the company had used early on in the development of the system. Total value of the donation is estimated at $22,000.
The Matrix Wand gets its name from the “wand” that houses a digital camera on each end of a bar, about three feet apart and angled inward so they have overlapping fields of view. Photos from each camera are imported into FenderBolt software that uses the photos to measure the distance between different points on the car and compares those measurements to a database for the vehicle, showing points that are out of alignment by as little as a few millimeters.
Such precision is increasingly important as cars and the systems in them become increasingly complex, said Sergio Correa, who graduated from Salina Tech’s Auto Collision Repair program in 2001, and is now Director of Support and Technical Training for the company.
He explained that modern vehicles with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems – ADAS for short – rely on a suite of cameras and sensors for tasks such as collision avoidance or keeping a vehicle in the proper lane. If a vehicle’s sensors or cameras are out of alignment by even a few millimeters, the ADAS systems may not work correctly.
“For Salina Tech, being able to have a Matrix Wand system gives them a huge advantage, being able to train their students with state-of-the-art technology,” Correa said. “These students will now know how to use this type of tool when they go out into the field and they start working in collision shops. They’ll be able to bring in a new aspect that many shops today don’t have.”
“The donation of The Matrix Wand system to the Auto Collision Repair program is great for the students, for them to have the latest technology in our industry,” said Auto Collision Repair instructor Brian Hitchens. “It gives them kind of a one-up on any of their competition in getting their career started.”
“We’ve had a partnership with Salina Tech for many years,” said company President Travis Young. “They’ve let us use their shops for training, and for people who fly in to see a demonstration. This is our way of paying it forward. It makes sense for us to have a permanent unit at Salina Tech for students to use.”
The donation is a great example of the way Salina Tech can help local businesses innovate and grow, and how such partnerships help students, said Salina Tech President Greg Nichols.
Additional information about The Matrix Wand can be found at https://www.thematrixwand.com/
Photo(Left to right): Auto Collision Repair students Seth Brooks and Jake Meyer, ACR Instructor Richard Fairchild, Matrix Technical Specialist Kade Carlson, ACR Instructor Brian Hitchens, Matrix Director of Support and Technical Training Sergio Correa, Salina Tech President Greg Nichols, Salina Tech VP of Instruction Stanton Gartin, ACR students Jofel Zabala and Ethan Anderson.