How to Learn (Almost) Anything

I left my marketing agency job hoping to get away from jargon, but I’m finishing Fab Academy with a whole new set: VCC, GND, rats nest, DRC, ERC, FTDI, MOSFET, ISP, H-Bridge and charlieplexing. It's like learning a new language of materials, grams, millimetres, pixels, speeds, depths and traces.

Everyday objects de-construct themselves before my eyes like Russian nesting dolls. Everything is made of a process within a process within a process.

I have never produced so many things in such a short amount of time, from the very tiny pulse sensor that could almost detect a heart beat to big objects like the step stool that can’t quite bear the weight of a standing person, but is super comfy with 3 foot rests. Each thing is not quite perfect, yet each mistake and imperfection carries with it a lesson on how to deal when nothing is working like it's supposed to.

This blog is like a gallery; not only of objects, but of those lessons learned. As much as I tried to provide a true account of all technical details that Future Me (and maybe even Future You) might find useful, this blog does not capture the tears of frustration and the joy of discovery that I have experienced throughout this transformative process.

I would have to write a whole other blog about how I came to know Ben, Geoff, Craig, Anna, Zenna, Bry, Bridget, Daniel, Wendy and Stu, through the emotional roller coaster of learning how to make almost anything. I cannot articulate the vast sea of knowledge, experience and wisdom each of them had passed on to me.

Each day I walked into the lab for the past 6 months, I thought to myself how lucky I am to be here amongst these incredibly bright, creative and generous people. And so I dedicate this blog and these works to them.

- Jasmin, Fab Academy 2015

A little about the designer...

I am a digital strategist and cultural researcher who studies how technology is changing our lives, our communities and our future. I like using technology to create experiences that mimick nature, understanding and growing collaborative cultures, and creating stories that engage communities around technology.

I left the corporate world of marketing and advertising to devote my time and talent towards causes, people and communities that I believe in.

Choose Life from Jasmin Cheng on Vimeo.

My goals for Fab Academy:

  • To become proficient in the lab (software, hardware, processes)
  • To develop a strong project management workflow that can benefit others
  • To develop relationships with people in the Wellington Fab community (organizers, makers)
  • To develop a human-centred design process that uses digital fabrication technology

My Principles:

  • Listen and learn - appreciate the diverse perspectives and experiences others can offer
  • Intentionally helpful - giving support when I can, but not being overbearing
  • Emotionally available - giving people the emotional space and support to go through their own journeys
  • Always producing - materials, tools and things that can benefit others