Computational Carnival - WICO Summer 2019 4.3

For the final two days of each week at the WICO summer program we open up possibilities for projects and give tinkerers more space and time to come up with their own projects that combine elements from the physical and digital world.


Each week we’ve been introducing a different theme for the projects so that pairs have a starting point for ideas and that everyone contributes to something larger than each individual project.

This week we focused on the idea of a ‘computational carnival’ with possibilities for games, rides, attractions, animals and robots all controlled by micro:bit.

It was inspiring for the group to welcome Lindsay Balfour from Strawbees as a guest facilitator on Thursday. Lindsay brought some micro:bit/strawbees adapters and shared some really fun and playful eye plates for the servo motors.


Before lunch, the group brainstormed a list of possible projects. It was really cool to see the diversity of ideas around the theme including a sushi boat, arcade games, ferris wheel, hot dog stand, laser tag set and a couple of unique and whimsical vehicles.


The projects started to take shape on the first day as campers explored cardboard construction techniques and worked to integrate the micro:bit into their projects.


Lindsay got pretty far on her strawbees ferris wheel which showed off a fun extension to our playful programming projects using another flexible building set.


On the last day of camp it was fun to see the projects get more complicated as campers iterated on the designs. A group of three tinkerers made an amazing carnival game with four continuous servo motors creating a array of targets.

One of the groups building a paint flinging car came up with a ingenious steering mechanism that was really tricky to get working but they persisted in getting the basic elements put together and operating smoothly.

Another group with a claw-car design worked with the radio function of the micro:bit to make their vehicle remote controlled. It was really fun to see them testing the car in the wide open space on the PFA mezzanine.

There was a super cool hot dog stand (the only food vendor in the carnival) that used some aluminum foil money to complete a switch that changed the RGB lights on the station to indicate the order was ready.

The laser tag group used a microbit on each of the chest plates and another microbit on each of the laser guns. When the light sensor on the chest plate got triggered by the LED on the laser the light changed from green to red signalling a direct hit! It was super fun to see people try out this futuristic duel in a dark room.


At the end of the camp week we invited special friends, siblings and parents into the room to experience the computational carnival. Everyone had a great time hearing about the projects and playing with the wide variety of ideas. It was a great end to a great week of camp!