Browsing articles tagged with " final project"
Apr 8, 2011
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In-Class Feedback

The feedback from our peer groups was invaluable. Here are a few of the major points:

  • Don’t be consumed by the scale:
    After giving a quick update on the breadth my project was starting to take (a board, module components, book, etc. – I promise I am not a masochist), Tami swooped in to remind me of the scale we should be working in for this project, especially at this stage of our process. From here the group was great in listening to my ideas and helping me isolate the key interactions supporting the concept that I needed to concentrate on.

  • Develop a narrative:
    Since one of my objectives is to have users understand the flow of the circuit and the I/O interaction, my group suggested skinning it in some type of narrative that might give users an analogy to help them follow the flow, similar to Braun’s Lectron. So far, all I have had on the mind in this department is pirates, due in large part to a fantastic April Fool’s joke I was lucky enough to bear witness to. While we’re on look/feel, I do plan on integrating stylized (though not kitschy) circuit schematics into the design as well for extra added fun.

  • Heating things up:
    Another solution for the above point is using thermochromic ink on the board and manipulating the voltage to the correct temperature to effect the ink. In effect, it would light up the flow of electricity between components in “real” time. The “magical” factor in this solution cannot be underestimated.

  • At the moment, my final project is moving towards the shape of a prototyping board with a focus on understanding circuitry through “soft” components and learning the interactions of different inputs and outputs. I hope to have a working prototype of this by mid-next week with the goal of having removable and remixable components by the end of the semester. The big goal is to have small book attached to the board packaging or a website explaining how to make these circuits so users can create their own.

    Apr 6, 2011
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    Minithesis Prototypes: Round 2

    a place to start

    note cards are AWESOME

    if I could only show them all

    thank you late night subway rides

    thank you late night subway rides

    getting closer

    I got a little stuck over the weekend and earlier this week as I began to really shape my concept. With each new major project I am increasingly learning the indeterminate nature of my process; it certainly requires much unyielding percolation followed by periods of rapid action.

    Slowly I am meandering my way towards a hard schematic, metaphorically speaking, of realizing my concept, especially after the feedback I received from my group.

    Mar 22, 2011
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    Major Studio Final Project Concept

    Tentative Title
    Does Not Compute: An Investigation into Computational Points of Entry for Middle/High School Students


    For my final project, I am going to compose a curriculum aimed at introducing middle to high school students to basic electronic, programming, and design concepts through soft circuits and a create a body of compiled and personal research surrounding this sphere.


    As of right now I am still in the process of fully flushing this out, but I will include some or all of the following:

  • A body of research into similar projects and their execution; the past/current/projected state of computation in education specifically, and in the context of STEM at a broader level; interviews with students, teachers, program organizers, and administrators; personal observation; and more.
  • A curriculum ready for an initial round of implementation. Unfortunately I do not think I will have time to user test the entire curriculum, but I will test specific activities and secure a site for future implementation.
  • A materials kit for individual students or class collaboration
  • A website documenting activities, curriculum, materials, and learning tools.

  • Big Ideas

    This final project is the intersection of two recent conceptual preoccupations and a recent experience at a girl’s after school session at Quest to Learn. The first preoccupation centers directly on the mystification, or demystification, of technology. The second is the idea of a point of entry, specifically regarding technology.


    As for the third, I have recently been interning at Quest to Learn’s Short Circuit after school program. I usually go on Thursdays when the dominant population are 6th and 7th grade boys, along with one girl who I have been working with a variety of independent projects on. Over spring break, however, I had the chance to help plan and run the Girlz Jam (I have class at this time otherwise, much to my chagrin) in which a group of ten 7th grade girls come together for a 2 hour after school session centered around a weekly topic. I should mention that the goal of this program is specifically to encourage female after school participation by creating a shared creative space, especially since at this time in development, blurry elementary school gender lines begin to focus quite sharply.

    While I have had experience running after school before, this session was quite unfocused and largely dictated by the girls with the organizers acting more like herders. First and foremost, I must say that after school is hard – students have just had a long day of school and really just want to listen to music and text their friends. Secondly, teaching soft circuits is extremely difficult: it requires a rewiring of your brain around both sewing and circuitry, not an easy feat especially for those who are novices to both. In spite of this, the potential was palatable enough for me to continue thinking about it for the past five days, and brought back previous work I had done in curriculum design and interaction design in spaces of learning. For me, the design problems that arise in these areas are fascinating. Combine that with the masochistic satisfaction of working with soft circuits and e-textiles, the intersection of these domains is endlessly stimulating.

    The “WHY” and Audience

    Based on countless studies and statistics, bodies of research, and simple observation or questioning, computation is a realm that most of the population feels estranged from, largely due to (as I will posit for a thesis) a psychological barrier resulting from lack of exposure or disinterest in the components that they traditionally associate with programming and physical computing.

    It feels trite to state the following, but its significance cannot be underscored enough: students must have more exposure to and experience with working with various technologies. This is for a variety of reasons that we have all heard before – international competition, job preparation, etc – but for this project, I will assume these as established propositions and posit that engaging youth with this type of process is innovative in its inherent ability to unlock creative potential by challenging preconceptions of materials, processes, and the cultural milieu traditionally associated with them.

    Further Concepts to Incorporate

    I would like this project to have an open source focus. Open source movements are in full swing and are going to play a massive role in defining culture, economics, politics – life in general – in the coming years. Following from this, as technology has become more and more accessible, a significantly large portion of the public have undergone a transformation from consumer to producer. (I would like to note, however, that these roles are not binary and there is much grey space to be exploited in between.) By making youth more aware of the individual and collective benefits of open source and the communities surrounding it, they will be more likely to actively contribute, thereby both sharing knowledge and reinforcing their own.

    Mar 9, 2011
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    Prototype 1

    This is documentation for the first prototype of the light and time in Physical Computing 1. For assignment, we were charged to construct a prototype using only LEDs and one push button (if any), with a focus on calm computing.

    My object is a look and feel prototype that conveys the idea of having a modular clock made of cubes that you can rearrange to keep time of a certain task. The light fades at a higher rate for those that need more immediate attention, and more slowly for those that do not.

    Critique & Feedback

    The class liked the look and feel of the cubes, and they were responsive to the modular concept. There was concern, however, that as a set of objects acting as an ambient task manager would strain rather than relieve mental stress since s/he would have to remember what each cube was and also be tasked with programming the cube when the task changed. While this issue could be negotiated in numerous ways, I think I am going to drop the concept of task manager in favor of exploring how objects relate and react to each other over time. Another suggestion aside from modes of interaction was the idea to manipulate the shape and size of the objects.

    Further Iterations

    For the next series of prototypes, I want to play with ideas of interactions among multiples and the resulting emergent behavior. I will test size, shape, hierarchy, and color interaction. Mission One: triangles are fun.