Found Faces for EB Mini Maker Faire

Next week, we’re setting up a pop-up workshop at the East Bay Mini Maker Faire where kids and adults can work on building useful and useless robots. As part of the tinkering environment, we’ve been creating a new installation of found faces made out of old hardware and electrical elements to demonstrate switches, LEDs and other circuit parts.

The first one that we tested out used a big potentiometer to power a few of the left over light up arcade-style buttons from Nicole's retina tattoo machine. Even in this primordial state, we knew right away we knew that this whimsical installation would be perfect for the booth!


Originally, Nicole mounted the parts on a thin piece of plywood, but after thinking about it for a couple minutes, she had the brilliant idea to make the robotic faces out of reused baking pans and trays, hiding the wires and circuits on the inside.


We came up with some fun ideas for faces using DAGU motors to change a smile to a frown and a solenoid that made a door bolt tongue stick out.


A cool side effect from the prototyping was getting the chance to use Tinkercad circuits software for a practical purpose. I had just met up with Tiffany Tseng who demoed a new beta version that allows you to simulate electric and programmed configurations. For a complicated face with a RGB LED and three potentiometers, Tinkercad was perfect to simulate the proper resistors and potentiometers.


Last week we got out our trusty pop-up tent out to see if we could reuse the plywood walls that we made for the Furby installation at Bay Area Maker Faire. Nicole started working to arrange the faces on the backdrop, thinking about how kids and adults could test them out as a first interaction before joining the activity space.


Over the next week, we’re thinking about making a few more electric faces and using this quirky art piece to create an imaginative and fun place to tinker. Hope that you all can join us at East Bay Mini Maker Faire on October 22nd to play and learn with us!