Tag Archives: littlebits

Virtual Futures

Hello! Ben Neal here, I’m a Creative Coder and Gadgeteer who’s been working with years 5 and 6 to create futuristic computer controllers to navigate around virtual worlds filled with our artwork.

During last term we used the LittleBits kits and MakeyMakeys to create our own Human Interface Devices made from recycled cardboard boxes and padded envelopes to replace the mouse and keyboard.

We made drawings of what we think we’ll look like in the year 2097 and added these to an interactive 3D world around which we can navigate and explore.

Below you can see some screenshots of what we’ve been up to and an animation of a virtual wall full of students work.

Click play to watch the video above

LittleBits kit
LittleBits kit
3d-world
3D World
inventors-schematic-template
Inventor’s Schematic
enviro-cube
Interactive vitual boxes

 

Coordinates, Electronics and Treasure – Aspire Day

My name is Ashley and Im a Digital Artist who has worked in Hobmoor as part of the Every Child Is An Artist project.

Today for Aspire Day I worked with pupils and we used a combination of Maths skills, alongside engineering and electronics to be pirates out to discover and retrieve treasure.

Problem Solving

Most of the Maths we used today involved problem solving. One of the most used skills across the curriculum from subjects such as science to sports and all areas of development.

Logical Thinking

Working iteratively and making decisions based on estimates and coming to conclusions based on a process of thinking and elimination.

Coordinates and Maps

Using columns and rows to describe a position on a map and to use terminology to pinpoint a place.

Directions / Instructions

Using instructions to create a series of coordinates so that a route could be followed across the map to avoid the obstacles.

Electronics and Engineering

Using Little Bits to create a pirate winch to haul up the treasure chest. We worked iteratively to improve our design to build a strong enough winch to lift the weight of the treasure box.

 

What did we make ?

The pupils created instructions from the Maps to find routes across the seas to reach the Treasure and then constructed a working crane winch to lift up the treasure box containing a stash of chocolate bunnies !

 

IMG_20160321_103344IMG_20160321_112349IMG_20160321_102356IMG_20160321_103331

 

Drawing Machines

Over the last few weeks the pupils have been experimenting with engineering and design using LittleBits to prototype ideas quickly.

Some of the questions in the project include thoughts about how artists and creatives are able to come up with such wondrous magical and bonkers ideas and turn them into a reality.

Reverse Engineering?

How do we figure out the inner workings of an object? What parts is it made up of?  Our knowledge of Inputs and Outputs can give us some idea, however to really understand most designers, creative tinkerers and makers will actually take something apart to investigate it.

Deconstructing physically or even just in the thought process (can be applied to anything from software to objects) and figuring out how something was made is called Reverse Engineering.

Using this thought process we could work out what LittleBits we might want to use to construct objects we are already familiar with such as lights and alarms and other devices using sensors to detect the world around us.

 

Autonomy?

Interaction is brilliant however the majority of devices and objects perform tasks by themselves. Having things run with a sense of autonomy is key to figure out which parts of an object actually cant or don’t need to be interactive.

Autonomy is the ability to carry out a series of instructions (often repeated) without Input or user intervention.

Using these ideas and processes along with everything else we have learnt so far in the project we set about building our own drawing machines that could create artworks in the real world.

 

Art?

Does building a machine to draw art for us stop us being the actual Artist ?

By creating a device to work and create for us have we lost our creative input in to the artworks created ? A very interesting question to think about.

What parts of our drawing machine need to be repeated and which parts require user interaction. In fact, does our drawing machine even need interaction ?

What modules do we need ?

 

Drawing Machines?

By using our understanding of engineering, design and automation we can create an object using LittleBits modules, some craft materials and a lego wheel.

POWER -> SLIDE SWITCH or DIMMER SWITCH – > MOTOR – >LIGHT

By attaching only one lego wheel to the motor the whole object tilted and by its own weight held it as a pivot on one corner. This meant with the continuous turing of the motor and wheel (autonomy) the whole object spun around in a circle. By attaching pens using different methods and placings we could create spiragraph spiral drawing using our machines.

IMG_20151104_163426IMG_20151111_123825IMG_20151104_120210

After School Digital Arts and Technology Club

Hi my name is Ashley and I am slowly becoming known in the school as the ‘Makey Makey Man’. I am a digital artist and coder who uses technology to create playful creative works that range from smartphone applications to large scale art gallery light installations.

I have been working after school with Year 4 in our Digital Arts Club to start our exploration of Digital Arts, Creative Technology and using our artistic inventiveness to explore and understand computer programming and building our own interactive objects with a creative and playful outcome.

So far we have made pianos and musical instruments out of bananas! and our bodies. We have built moving flashing ghost drawings for Halloween and designed our inventions of the future.

As part of Back To The Future day we have been designing our own futuristic inventions.

IMG_20151023_145912

 

Makey Makey ?

We have used a Makey Makey , a digital interface that allows us to connect everyday conductive objects such as coins, fruit and ourselves to control content on the computer.

Using resistive electricity we create and connect circuits with these objects to the Makey Makey device so that when connected together by touching the objects with our body, they operate like a switch and simulate the pressing of a key on the computer, such as the spacebar.

IMG_20151014_104453IMG_20150909_104911

 

 

Little Bits ?

LittleBits are a system of digital building blocks that can be combined to create interactive objects. Much like a series of lego blocks these bits are magnetic and stick together. Through experimentation and understanding we can use them to combine multiple inputs and outputs and with a little crafting and imagination we can transform our ideas into working inventions. Each bit has a different function, some are input devices and sensors and others are output devices.

IMG_20151023_141053

LittleBits snap together in the following order: (Power -> Input ->Output ) By changing an Input or Output device we can create varying differences in our objects within seconds of experimentation.

In our club we have used LittleBits to make moving flashing objects for Halloween.

IMG_20151014_163017IMG_20151021_163145

 

See our devices in action:

Back To The Future Day – making our own inventions

Today was officially Back To The Future Day – 21st October 2015 – the day that Marty McFly travelled to the future and witnessed a plethora of exciting inventions from hover boards to flying cars, automatic dog walkers and giant holographic 3d cinema screens.

Today that day has arrived and while some inventions have made it into our lives for real, many of them have yet to be realised.

This week the pupils have been advancing their understanding of Inputs and Outputs, terminology we used in programming, and applying this to physical interactive electronic objects in the real world.

IMG_20151021_153459

 

Interactive Technology?

Each of the pupils investigated common interactive technology driven objects from around the home, school and on their person to dissect the Inputs that control them, and the Outputs that they produce. We looked at table lamps and heaters, television sets and radio hi-fi. Once we discovered that many outputs could indeed become sensors as inputs as well as outputs we could understand how devices that we use today might have been dreamt up; from audible reverse parking sensor alerts on cars to automated central heating systems in our homes and schools.

Taking our imagination into the future another 25 years, we all came up with an invention that used some form of Input and Output to show our understanding.

 

Prototyping ?

Coming back to some of first lessons,  we learnt the term iterative development and the way in which we can quickly produce ideas on paper and in our minds, and then write bits of code or design using computers and then once it works we can further refine and amend our ideas until we are happy with the result.

In digital technology terms this is called prototyping. Creating ideas on paper and then using electronics or computer code to sketch out a rough idea or to quickly demonstrate the interaction between Inputs and Outputs.

Prototyping objects is often quick and means that the focus is on creating and realising ideas rather than spending lots of time building and manufacturing something that may not be the desired result. It is a further form of iterative development and is a process widely used in the technology industry (and many other sectors too)

 

Little Bits ?

LittleBits are a system of digital building blocks that can be combined to create interactive objects. Much like a series of lego blocks these bits are magnetic and stick together. Through experimentation and understanding we can use them to combine multiple inputs and outputs and with a little crafting and imagination we can transform our ideas into working inventions. Each bit has a different function, some are input devices and sensors and others are output devices.

LittleBits snap together in the following order: ( Power -> Input ->Output ) By changing an Input or Output device we can create varying differences in our objects within seconds of experimentation.

IMG_20151023_141053

LittleBits is quick, fun and easy to use so it is a perfect tool to enable us to prototype with.

 

Inventions ?

Choosing Light as our Output we worked with a button (toggle switch) as our Input to create a simple on/off light switch device. Changing the Input for a dimmer (variable potentiometer switch) we were able to alter that device into something that could produce a different amount of light. Altering the Output to a servo motor (rotary motor that moves between 0 and 180 degrees) and attaching a post it note we could create a moving flag with a message on it.

IMG_20151021_105156IMG_20151021_105030

 

Understanding the building blocks of sensors and devices that make up many of our technology driven objects in the world today, we can now begin to design and develop our own inventions and make them a reality using LittleBits and a bit of creative and artistic imagination.