••• Current and coming soon…
•– Creative School with Micro:bits ———————
Currently running a 10 week project in a primary school near Bridgend (UK). The project is part of the ambitious Lead Creative Schools theme run by the Arts Council of Wales, where a ‘creative practitioner’ works with a class for 10 day sessions. I am running a special Wrekshop with a class of 30 pupils 8-9 year old. We are making sort of robots from e-waste. The e-waste is provided by the school (de-commissioned PCs) and the pupils, who scavenge their homes for old tech bits.
We use the recently released BBC Micro:bits to provide brains for the robots. Micro:bits are small programmable devices (microcontrollers) which can be programmed from a kid-friendly interface. These are good physical computing devices for children to get started. The kids quickly got results, getting the built-in LED matrix to display smileys and scrolling text, plugging a scavenged speaker for beeping melodies, and now getting to control DVD trays and PC tower fans.
•– Citizen Science #3 ———————
Session 3 of our Citizen Science experiments with creative bio-engineer Michka Melo is planned for May 2017. After an exciting even if slightly frustrating week trying to build supercapacitors from dead laptop batteries (Brussels 2014), we worked on mud-powered microbial fuel cells (Cardiff 2016). For the next session we will focus on making our own electrodes and a collecting circuit for the fuel cells. We hope to generate enough mud-electricity for powering a small interactive device.
The best mud we got was collected near Barry Island, South Wales. The tides from the Severn estuary leave a thick sludgy sediment full of great electrically-charged Shewanella bacteria.
•– Combover Jo on the road again ———————
Just about to start upgrading my robotic installation Am I Robot for an interesting exhibition run by the Craft Council in Hull UK, July-September. Am I Robot features the friendly robot called Combover Jo, wandering around the floor and sometimes keen to talk to visitors.