Week 1

Principles and practices

Assignment: Plan and sketch a potential final project
Learning outcomes: Communicate an initial project proposal
Assessment: Have you: a) sketched your final project idea/s, b) described what it will do and who will use it

Background Initial ideas Could this be the one?


I am currently working at the Interact research group at the University of Oulu, in a project that aims to a) empower primary school children through technology making and designerly thinking in education to become better prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution b) To develop best practices in cooperation with schools for educating children in technology making and designerly thinking

The project itself is still in its early stages, we are currently working on the research plan. However, during the process we will be arranging "designing and making"-themed workshops with children of the participating classes. The workshops consist of three phases 1) Brainstorming/design, 2) making, and 3) evaluation and feedback.

We will carry out the 'making' part of the project the FabLab. To be better prepared for this, I enrolled in FabAcademy to get familiar with the environment, and to find out what we can do there with the children. Naturally I am hoping to tie my final project for FabAcademy together with this project. I am hoping to come up with a simple project that will appeal to primary school children (and their teachers) and that can be replicated with them during a one day workshop, either as is, or as a somewhat scaled down version where I provide some ready made parts that they assemble or customize.

Initial ideas

I had some project ideas in mind already before the first lecture. I was envisioning something that the children could do in groups, and that could be used in class after the project.

simple robot that teaches sequential thinking
- walks, turns, talks etc according to input (What would be the input? Buttons!)
- Could also dance? Flash lights?
- I scrapped this idea since I noticed I would basically be ripping off beebot

A digital classroom pet
- A toy that would teach the children how to take care of a pet.
- A pet mouse that needs a special kind of environment
- Can sense when for example humidity changes and alerts the kids
- Needs playtime, signals that it is unhappy when it has not been played with etc.
- I scrapped this idea since I noticed I would basically be ripping off Tamagothci

Both of these ideas stemmed largely from a small project that was created last summer in a maker day in Sunderland FabLab. I was a part of the project team, and after the maker day we received small funding to develop it further. The project was called AdaBee, a classroom pet that teaches primary school age children coding.

Moving on to a possible final project idea

I discussed my initial two project ideas with other researchers working in my project group and they were deemed a wee bit ambitious as the plan would be to carry out the making part in one day. It was back to the drawing board, and scaling down. That is when I came up with an electronic, private, supercool, customizable treasure/jewellery box!

Who will use it?
- Primary school age children, post doctoral researchers, anyone who wants to keep their treasures
- For girls it can be a jewellery box, for boys a treasure chest. Or vice versa.

What will it look like?
- The casing will be made out of wood or plastic. A small, simple box with a lid that has hinges. The parts could be designed with a 3D modelling program and either lasercut or 3D printed.
- The box can be individually decorated with the laser cutter. 'Heidi's treasures, keep out!' etc.
- The inside of the lid can have a mirror (with a text as well)

What will it do?
1) It will have an electronic lock, so only the owner can open it and all of their treasures and secrets will be secured from prying eyes.
2) When the correct sequence of buttons is pressed, a green light turns on and a welcome sound plays (Or would it be possible it possible to add a pre-recorded message that plays when the right sequence is pressed? 'Welcome owner' etc.). I hope this is feasible in the scope of this project? The problem is that I do not have a background in electronics so I do not know w
--> Plan B: It would be cool if it was possible to unlock it by sound. 'Open sesame' kind of thing?
3) It will light up when you open it, so you can admire your treasures
4) It will react if someone is trying to break into it. If wrong sequence of buttons is pressed, it will light warning lights and make a sound
--> Plan B: If possible to record voice, could add 'intruder alert'? 'Do not touch my stuff' etc. It could also start shaking? Or even run away?

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