workshops

:: Physical Computing Workshop Series ::
:: Fall 2013 ::

This new series is geared towards teaching the novice how to ‘do’ everything from basic electronics to building a robot. We will begin with basic circuits, then move through circuit bending and soldering, while learning some basic code with the Arduino. We will explore alternative energies along the way, culminating in the creation of wheeled robots.

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:: DCC Workshops are meant as fun, sometimes wacky, introductions to a topic, technology, or process ::
:: No experience is necessary ::
:: Workshops are co-learning spaces for students to share their knowledges & expertise ::
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  • basic electronics

    Come learn the basics of creating circuits using playdoh, wires, and LEDs!  We will use home-made play doh to safely explore paths of least resistance, properties of insulation, and polarity. We will build off this knowledge to learn about series and parallel circuits, enabling students to create their own simple circuit boards. Note: there may be (play doh) animals involved. (Sept 12)  (read more)

  • circuit bending

    Come take apart electronic (battery-powered) toys and use them to make music!
    Toy Hacking, also known as circuit bending is the creative short-circuiting of consumer electronics in order to generate sound and visual output. (Toys will be provided, however feel free to bring your own old speak-n-spells, talking dolls, synthesizers, etc) (Sept 23)

  • intro to Arduino

    Arduino is an open-source physical computing platform and a development environment for writing Arduino software. It is used to create interactive objects, from controlling lights and sound to motors and sensors. This workshop introduces the basics of physical computing, from installing the development environment to creating a circuit and programming LED (light emitting diodes) to flash on and off through code. Students have the opportunity to set up a circuit board from scratch and experiment with circuitry, as well as manipulate the instructional code and even create their own. (Sept 24)

  • intro to soldering

    Learn how to solder while making a remote control that turns almost any television on and off. We will spend time learning the basics of how to solder (and how to fix it when you mess up).  (Oct 7)

  • alternative energy: solar power

    Put your newfound soldering and circuit making skills to use while we explore the possibilities of using solar power to recharge (via usb) your cell phone. (Oct 21)

  • alternative energy: wind turbines

    Take things to the next level as we design and build our own wind turbine battery rechargers for your small electronics. (Nov 11)

  • wheeled robots

    Spend the next 3 workshop periods creating your own obstacle-avoiding wheeled robot. We will design, build and program our robots and if time permits- create an obstacle course for a friendly competition between robots. (You should have previous experience, or have attended the rest of the physical computing workshops to be able to comfortably take part) (must attend all 3 sessions: Nov 18, Nov 25, Dec 2)

No experience is necessary, however since each workshop will be building on the previous ones, attendance at the earlier ones will provide a foundation for the later ones.

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:: Past Workshops ::
:: 2010-2013 ::

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  • HTML like it’s 1993

HTML-1993-2012Students learn basic computer programming language concepts through building an HTML website from scratch. The purpose of this exercise was to open up the possibilities of ‘web’ screens and interfaces – not to lock them down with right and wrong, good and bad. Instead, to begin thinking of themselves as makers, as doers within ‘digital cultures’ – not followers of what’s already out there. I want them to experiment, create, mess around. By making it purposefully ugly, something from the past, something funny- the pressure is off. Perfection is no longer necessary. It can just be fun. From the ugliness of 1993 HTML comes the beauty of possibility and play.More on the pedagogy behind this project

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  • The Turing Test

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What makes us human? This workshop draws inspiration from Alan Turing’s 1950 essay on machine intelligence, in which a subject is given the task of asking questions to a human and machine and determining which is the machine. Students divide into groups and devise their own set of questions intended to bring out the “human”, and then trade questions with other groups. Two members of each group remotely answer the questions, with one acting as a machine by only using answers from online bots or search engines, and one acting as genuinely human. The “questioner” has to decide which of the two is machine and which is human.

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  • Intro to the Arduino

arduino workshopArduino is an open-source physical computing platform and a development environment for writing software to create interactive objects, from controlling lights and sound to motors and sensors. This workshop introduces the basics of physical computing, from installing the development environment to creating a circuit and programming LED (light emitting diodes) to flash on and off through code. Students have the opportunity to set up a circuit board from scratch and experiment with circuitry, as well as manipulate the instructional code and even create their own.

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  • Visual Exquisite Corpse

Screen shot 2013-09-04 at 4.30.27 PMThe “Exquisite Corpse” is a technique for (usually written)collaborative story creation. In this workshop, students work in groups to invent a rough storyline, film part of their story with iPads or MacBooks, and then rotate the resulting videos among groups, with each new group adding to the story based on the last few seconds of previous footage. The final products are somewhat patched-together video stories with a piece from every group. The workshop combines filming and video editing techniques with story-making and performance.

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  • Battle of the Bands

Students form groups, or bands, to create music using a combination of instrumental and non-instrument sounds. Each band must create and perform a song that contains at least ten sounds that are not from traditional instruments, such as environmental sounds, white noise, or computer sound effects. Groups can either perform live or create their music with Garage Band or Audacity.

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  • Poetry Slam

IMAG0645Using sites like Twitter, Tumblr, or Youtube, groups of students find a “word cloud” or “tag cloud” of words associated with a topic of their choice. These words are attached to small foam balls, and then the groups engage in the “slam” aspect of the poetry slam–a friendly game of poetry dodgeball. Each team uses the foam balls they collect by the end of the match to craft and creatively perform a poem. The workshop transforms social media tools of word association into movement, poetry, and performance.

 

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  • So You Think You Can’t Dance

IMAG0259 copyThis event tied in with an assignment for HDCC105, in which students learned programming concepts that surpass any single language through the medium of dance. Students then choreographed group dances using computer programming concepts like loops, if-then statements, variables, and strings, which they then performed at an event where second-year students acted as judges, giving points on creativity, use of coding concepts, and style.

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  • Performing the Algorithm

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details / pedagogy here: • http://hastac.org/blogs/jarah/2011/10/10/code-concepts-i-performing-algorithm

 

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  • Co-opt the code

Screen shot 2013-09-04 at 5.03.52 PMThis workshop provided an introduction to reading and manipulating code. Students play with open source code to become comfortable reading and understanding basic code concepts through manipulation. The workshop also involved introducing students to the Processing development environment.

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  • Burn Notice

Inspired by the show Burn Notice — students will discuss and explore surveillance tools, engaging in a hands-on approach to turning surveillance back on itself through physical computing.

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  • Build-a-friend

IMAG0199 copyUsing the kinect and the 3-d printer together, we will capture the likeness of every current DCC student and faculty, and turn them into (non-articulated) action figures which can then take over the world. Or used for photography, animation, gaming and perhaps some physical computing. ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

 

 

 

 

  • Connect with your Kinect

IMAG0579 copyThe computer programming behind the Kinect can be manipulated in order to create one’s own interactive games and performances. In this workshop, students create characters for a storyline, and bring those characters to the screen by using the Kinect to attach the images to their hands or other parts of their body. The workshop encourages creativity and experimentation, with some students working on character creation while others work with the code behind the Kinect.