I am excited to say that starting in February I will be regular faculty at the Crucible. I had taught some classes in June. Now Michael Shiloh, head of the department, has asked me to take on 2 of his regular classes: “Electromechanics for Everything” and “Introduction to Mechanical Sculpture”.
The classes start in February. Of course, I’ll be in India for part of February so another Crucible faculty member and all-around-good-guy Sudhu and I will be co-teaching some of the classes and he’ll be subbing for some :-)
I Taught 2 classes at The Crucible, Extreme Gizmos (8-12 yrs old) and Radical Robots (12-14yrs old). Phew, it was a lot of work to get ready for the classes! And a lot of work and mental energy to run them. But it turned out great.
Each class was 3 hrs/day for 5 days, June 15-19. Gizmos: 9-noon, Robots: 1-4pm.
We did way more than I have photographed. One note: NEVER let your students take their projects home before they are done! I let several kids bring their almost-finished (excellent) projects home on Thursday. All but one kid forgot to bring them back to finish and present.
It was a bit of a nervous thrill when I saw the cover of one of the Crucible’s catalogs
Extreme Gizmos class
Radical Robots class
Extreme Gizmos posing for a photo with our gizmos
A Radical Robot, an Arduino, servo and photoresistor open the box when you pass your hand in front of the box
Lee and kids
Another Radical Robot, a tripod holds an Arduino and 2 servos to point a mirror or camera in an arbitrary direction
Here’s the full class listing:
Youth Extreme Gizmos KIN14-Y
Class size: 8
Monday – Friday 9-12pm
June Camps: Jun 15-Jun 19
8-12 year olds
Cost: $235.00 (Tuition: $180.00, Materials: $55.00), Members: $217.00
Learn kinetic techniques to design, engineer, and construct a mechanical sculpture, contraption, or gadget with lights and moving parts. Using new and salvaged components, you will learn how motors, lights, and switches work, how to create mechanical structures, how to create different types of motion, and how to incorporate switches to operate your very own fantastical contraption!
————————————————– Youth Radical Robots KIN15-Y
Class size: 8
Monday – Friday 1-4pm
June Camps: Jun 15-Jun 19
12-14 year olds
Cost: $295.00 (Tuition: $220.00, Materials: $75.00), Members: $273.00
Build a simple remote-controlled robot . From the wheels up, you’ll create your robot’s shape and personality from salvaged components, mechanisms, and electrical components. You’ll also learn soldering, mechanical construction techniques, and how to remove and repurpose these items. Each student will receive a kit of motors, wheels, and a remote control toy.
Oop, I haven’t updated my adoring public in a while. Here’s what’s been up recently, in no apparent order. Some of these items took up seconds of my time, some of them hundreds of hours.
————————————————– I was on the curatorial committee for the Robogames Art Competition with Marnia, Niladri and Corey. Marnia and I each made the most lovable Tweenbots as a cute marketing ploy for the Art Competition. We set a sign on him that read “Help me get to the Gallery!” and let him loose at the front entrance of Robogames. The tweenbots were a great success! As I left on Sunday with him under my wing, several people stopped me and said how great they were!
At the Crucible class, the kids changed changed the sign to read “Hi! My name is Ron. I am trying to get to the Kinetics Lab. Help if Stuck!” It’s interesting and telling that the kids insisted that the robot have a name. :-)
Went to Robogames. The awesome new Exploratorium permanent outdoor exhibits at Fort Mason are awesome. Firefighting robots are awesome. Robogames is awesome. The Robogames art was awesome. Awesome!
A firefighting robot at Robogames 2009
Hung out with Magnus Wurzer of Roboexotica fame. I drove him to Robogames from the East Bay and caught up with him at Dorkbot.
Went to the Dorkbot 7th Anniversary Party. Saw 2 tesla coils and 1 Tesla Roadster. The coils lit some fireworks… after much consternation; more than one person asked if we couldn’t use a lighter instead of a giant tesla coil to light them. Twas funny, using a hammer to kill a fly sometimes doesn’t work so well :-)
Saw the fantastic Snail Art car. The metal work on it is Fantastic! I haven’t yet found a photo that really captures it perfectly. I chatted with some of the crew and marvelled at it.
Met up with Shameless Heather… we met 5 years ago at Burning Man. 5 years. 5 years! Phew. Five years.
I’ve learned a bit about Rotoscoping from Slim at Noisebridge (sat in on 2 or 3 classes)
Saw Deborah Violin playing in Berkeley with her friends. Most of it was really cool. They played these really really short, dense quartet pieces that were cool. And the Bach was nice. A guy played his Doctoral Thesis violin piece or something… yes, he’s now a doctor of music… and it sounded like 40 minutes of “Yeyt! Yeyt! Yeyt! Yeyt! Yeyt! Yeyt! Yeyt! Yeyt! Yeyt!” Oh my god it was awful, I prayed for death’s sweet release, but his professors apparently liked it. So what do I know?
Dinner with Charlotte’s friend Kevin in Brocceley
Went to sensitivity training at The Crucible so I could be Faculty. I now believe that straight, white European males are responsible for all evil in the world. I would kill myself but that would just be another demonstration of their subjugation of us all.
Went to Memoir Spool at Climate Theater, June 25th. Great Storytelling!
I’m now learning SolidWorks so I can design my T. Pen.
SWARM went to SubZero1 in San Jose. I just went to look at the art. It was cool. There was this piece with a woman on 4 TV screens eating hot dogs until she was near puking, it was as if she was having an eating contest with herself. It was really really cool. It reminded me of how I sometimes eat to excess to push away bad feelings.
I went with SWARM to the Google IO Developer Conference. The conference topics were pretty much lost on me. I tried but no. But we had lots of fun!
I’ve been sitting for a friend’s children. They have an artichoke tree growing in their front yard (yes, yes, I know that artichokes don’t grow as trees but the artichoke at the top of this plant is a full 9 feet off the ground. So there. And they are delicious!
PS. Though I’ve barely mentioned Charlotte in this post yet. She rocks.