Collaborative Chibitronic Installation - Crafting with Code 2.3

At the midpoint of this week of the crafting with code summer camp, we introduced a final computational tool, met an inspiring guest artist and worked colaboratively to construct an amazing undersea circuit themed installation. 

At the start of the day, Lea introduced the chibichip, a microcontroller made for paper circuits developed by our friends at Chibitronics. We made observations of the board, looked at the Love to Code book and tested out an interactive jellyfish element on the front wall. 

For the first 45 minutes or so, campers just explored this programmable tool, making use of the onboard LEDs and getting the hang of programming through the audio jack. We brought out some alligator clips so pairs could also test some simple switches as inputs. 


After our snack break, tinkerers started working on ideas for a computational element to add to the undersea themed installation. We worked on making plans, prioritizing ideas and collaborating on different elements. It was fun to see the variety of different projects around the room. 

In the afternoon, we started off by introducing our afternoon guest K-Fai Steele, illustrator of the Love to Code book which is a companion to the chibichip. She shared a bit about her process and then dove in to help facilitate the campers finishing up their creations. 


It was awesome to see the variety of tools and materials that people were using around the room. Some campers focused on the computers and programming, some used hot glue guns and sodering irons, while others worked on painting backdrops and illustrating characters. There were lots of opportunities to start with something comfortable and move to developing new skills. The combination of art, science, and technology in the service of personally meaningful projects supported lots of great moments of learning. 


As groups finished up there projects they started adding them to the hive installation in the front of the brightworks annex. It was so cool to see the variety of ideas including a kraken, ticklish seal, a deep sea explorer, the titanic getting attacked by a shark, a wounded whale, an angler fish and a potato submarine. 

Once all the creations were installed in the wall, each group shared their story and reflected on their process of tinkering. It was awesome to hear about the things they were proud of, the moments of frustration and big ideas to continue thinking about for the rest of the camp. 

Tomorrow we'll move to even more open ended projects and I think that this experience will help prepare campers to create some really fun and ambitious creations.