Category: Village of Arts and Humanities

Triluminazey Makey Makey MakerParty Awesomeness


This past week working on our Connected Messages mural I could sense that the leaving the theme topics a bit to open ended lead to more [adult] intervention in each kids work than I would like.
Our first day working on our mural we documented some of the kids running stories that play the line between humor, fantasy, and real life. However, after having a a mock viewing and eulogies for Uncle(and exhausting our inside jokes) it was hard to get motivated to create more or begin to delve into more serious topics.

This was all cleared up after diverting our attention to our Makey Makey contest entry for some fun and unintended inspiration. After trying to make some badges that one would “unlock” for completing our Group How-To(thank you techkim) we realized that we could use the badge sketching templates as a means of expressing ourselves on our mural. We unintentionally created a way to make patterns, display things we like, and even create our own achievement badges for what we have learned(something I have wanted to do since the start of this summer). It’s truly an awesome way for the kids to get work onto paper and who-knows we may scale and copy these bad boys to hand out at the Maker Celebration!


Our contest entry, due 8/13, still under development as of 8/7: Magnetic Makey Makey Mazes

Scan 3

Makey Makey Workshop @ Spells

Last Wednesday I held a Makey Makey workshop at Spells Writing Lab. Our game controller workshop was icing on the cake for their work story boarding and creating their own games in Gamestar Mechanic. It was wild to come in and see the variety of different games based off of the same platform.
As this was my first big workshop I was a tad bit nervous as to how it’s introduction would flow into the working session. To my surprise and delight after briefly explaining how the Makey Makey and its component parts work the kids became very attentive(handing out the alligator clips and the Makey Makeys was helpful). This coupled with a quick demonstration of how a high five could make our CANABALT player jump created an explosively energetic kickoff to making. Immediately the kids took to group work stations and began gleefully tinkering.

Throughout the workshop we explored many different fruits, candy, and found objects as input for their games. Eventually we looked to other video games and gave a stab at creating more complex controllers.
The most awesome of those controllers were those that brought together a team of three pre-teens and made them physically connect and work as a team to complete a level. This same project along with others spawned a variety of foil wearables to act as Earth. It was an excellent learning experience for all. I just hope one day they use their new akey Makey to spar with their space adventure foil swords.

Testing, Learning, and Failing.

This past week we pushed our Mazes into one last bit of development as we start gearing up for Connected Messages. We tested how well our Squishy Circuit mazes work when kept in boxes over a period of time and found that they can still conduct but it’s not the best medium for long term development. After working on them for a couple days they dry up and the loosely connected play-doh separates.
After troubleshooting with water and MORE PLAY-DOH we went back to our earlier paper circuits with some new copper tape and a more manageable work/play board. This will allow us to start working on some Scratch Scoreboard/Game tests while populating our Connected Messages mural.

“Who cares about saving the Princess, we’d rather win some Pizza.”

This past week at the Village we kept developing our skills and started diving into our Magnetic Maze project. We went through one Soldering iron tip, half a spool of solder, and quite a few markers this week working on our skills. Plenty of fingers were singed in the process, but soldering LEDs into pairs is still a hit(led by Sameer & Jacob)!

This was a perfect start for us to begin playing with our Square Force Resistors and the Makey Makey for our FFR dance pad. Although our second iteration looked like it was going to work, we are still having many issues with materiality and time delays. This physical making exploration allowed us to begin working digitally in Scratch (with classes led by Josh, an Animation major from Art Institute also working in the Hot Spot) some sketches that can be found on the Villages scratch account!

All of this is leading towards our development of Maze Games that will be a mix of physical Squishy Circuitry and digital Scratch interfaces or games. We took a look at all the different types of mazes and puzzles out there (here is the presentation we went though) and talked our own experiences in corn mazes. Which started the generation and discussion of different game concepts, mechanics, and our hatred of helpless princesses in pink-dresses. Personally I can’t wait to see what direction everyone goes in making their own maze games, at the moment “The Legend of Grandmom 2, with Grandpop” is a running favorite.

Awsm video of the week, Sameer showing off his soldering skills:
[vimeo 70453382 w=500 h=881]

Camp begins at the Village

This past week has been pretty rad for us up at the Village! Earlier in the week Camp started so we had a few Squishy Circuitry tinkering sessions. It was awesome to watch the new makers (camp kids) testing the limits of the play-doh and insulating dough. All mixed in was the comic relief that the insulating dough could be used as snot balls to startle Ms. Brenda and some mischief around the second floor with the Piezzo buzzers.

What spawned from our exploration was a combination of our Magnet-Maze Game and Squishy Circuits! More fun, anyone can make something, and less gnarly foil paper-cuts. Jacob and a few of our morning kids have been hanging around after camp to work on these little Mazes.


Just observing the makers get direct feedback from players and be able to manipulate the play-space in real time is unreal, and much easier than our prior paper/foil prototypes. It allows for much quicker problem solving and less physical error(again our foil tape isn’t great). So now where do we see this going next? Well, we’ve run into two issues:

  1. We need to find a way to save these Mazes, currently photographing and printing is our only method.
  2. Having a phone out and a person keeping score isn’t fun for a one player game(or my phone).

So an easier method of containing the dough(and still being able to use magnets) or a better quick-start documentation guide/poster may help. Also, we need a scoreboard! A quick thought would be to use Scratch and the Makey Makey! The latter being one of the more interesting trinkets I have to the kids. This might just be our potential little entry into the Makey Makey Contest!


To wrap up, we had a paper circuitry workshop the other day. At first glance the materials led to a very regimented process and not a lot of creativity or individuality in each campers circuit. However, we tail ended our brief explorations with different sensors and potentiometers into how you actually wire them up. A quick demo of how to tin some wire and solder an FSR to it led to Jacob and others showing each-other how to pair up some LEDs! Again totally rad, a lot has happened this week, I’m excited to see we move along with our Magnetic Mazes and Connected Messages.


Making Possibilites at the Village

During my first two weeks at the Village we have seen over 15 new faces, attained a few regulars, and had a lot of inquiry as to what I’m up to. I have been running through a few of our standard work sessions to give an introduction to what I’ll be doing for the next few weeks. As of right now we have moved from doing quick circuits(heh) of LED lighting, Squishy Circuitry, and Artbots to more resolved projects.
With the help of Paul and Aisha we have gone from our standard set of Possibility Box projects to working primarily with the Makey Makey and some Maze Games. Paul has even coined the name “TeamROCK” for our little work group. Each day we now have a couple new faces working on either our Flash Flash Revolution Dance Pad or our Electronic Maze(Pictures to come). It is a very fun time testing, prototyping, troubleshooting, bonding, and making with our little team. It is awesome to see everyone sharing skills or showing off their creations, this really helps suck new faces into our little making circle.
Some highlights, mouse over for the description: