With links to resources
Buechley, L., Eisenberg, M. and Elumeze, N. (2007) Towards a Curriculum for Electronic Textiles in the High School Classroom. In Proceedings of the Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE), Dundee, Scotland, June 2007.
Buechley, L., Elumeze, N., Dodson, C., and Eisenberg, M. (2005). Quilt Snaps: A Fabric Based Computational Construction Kit. In Proceedings of IEEE International Workshop on Wireless and Mobile Technologies in Education (WMTE), Tokushima, Japan, November 2005.
Buechley, L. and Hill, B. M. 2010. LilyPad in the Wild: How Hardware’s Long Tail is Supporting New Engineering and Design Communities. In Proceedings of Designing Interactive Systems (DIS), Aarhus, Denmark, 199-207.
Eisenberg, M., Buechley, L., and Elumeze, N. (2004). Computation and Construction Kits: Toward the Next Generation of Tangible Building Media for Children. In Proceedings of Cognition and Exploratory Learning in the Digital Age (CELDA), Lisbon, Portugal, December 2004.
Eisenberg, M. and Buechley, L. (2008). Pervasive Fabrication: Making Construction Ubiquitous in Education. Upcoming in Journal of Software. (Invited submission)
Klemmer, S. and Landay, J. (2009). Toolkit Support for Integrating Physical and Digital Interactions. Human-Computer Interaction, vol 24, pp.315-366.
Marcu, G., Kaufman, S.J., Lee J.K., Black, R.W., Dourish, P., Hayes, G.R., Richardson, D.J. Design and Evaluation of a Computer Science and Engineering Course for Middle School Girls. In Proceedings of SIGCSE, 2010.
Rusk, N., Resnick, M., Berg, R., & Pezalla-Granlund, M. (2008). New Pathways into Robotics: Strategies for Broadening Participation. Journal of Science Education and Technology, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 59-69.
Schweikardt, E. and Gross, M. (2009). Designing Systems to Design Themselves. In Proceedings of SIGCHI, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, April 2009.
Wyeth, P.  How Young Children Learn to Program with Sensor, Action, and Logic Blocks. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 17:4
Final Presentation located here.
The feedback I received from Melanie focused mainly on developing the board as an interface to systems learning in realms outside of computation. This was fantastic feedback, especially since an early concept had framed it in this way. Katherine’s feedback was continued simplification of the components by taking them off the board. This is definitely the goal of the summer moving this project into potential thesis territory, along with some logic-based components.
The feedback from our peer groups was invaluable. Here are a few of the major points:
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.
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.
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.
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.
More documentation to come, but here is the presentation.
Here is the link to my syllabus for a middle school program on soft circuits. It is still in an early malleability stage and its evolution will be closely tied to my major studio final project. Below is the course description:
Talking Lights and Stretching Sound
An Introduction to Physical Computing and SoftWear for Middle School Students
Mondays from 3 – 5pm
2 West 13th Street, Rm 1006
Course Description and Objectives
In this course, middle school students will explore the possibilities of physical computing through soft components to offer students a large toolkit to draw from in implementing their designs. There will be a focus on interaction design, computational concepts, and craftsmanship. This course will be held largely in a workshop format with opportunities for group learning and individual work.
By the end of this course, students will:
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.
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.