In Spring 2017 I developed and facilitated a six week evening course in wearable electronics / e-textiles, in collaboration with Richard Millwood and Doireann Wallace, both from the School of Computer Science and Statistics in Trinity College Dublin.
Participants learned to sew a simple circuit with conductive thread and LEDs, learned to write simple Arduino code for use with Adafruit FLORA - the wearable electronics Arduino board - and learned how to control an LED with a light sensor, before moving on to designing and making their own projects.
The finished projects included a musical glove controlled by light sensors, light-up braces controlled by a pulse sensor, an illuminated bowler hat that visually represented the 'light bulb' moment when you have an idea, a coat with embedded electroluminescent panel, felt jewellery lit up by LEDs, and a scarf with embedded speakers.
This project was part funded by the Trinity College Dublin Visual Arts and Performance Fund.
For this workshop I gave Transition Year students at Science Gallery a few basic components - batteries, wires, motors, propellers, LEDs - and a range of recycled and low cost materials - tinfoil, cardboard, pipe cleaners etc - and challenged them to design robots. They had to be functional in some way, be it moving, lighting up, or something else.
My favourite group used a speaker they had made in a soldering workshop we did the previous day, and created 'Hazel the robot', a robot head with light up eyes and a permanently surprised expression thanks to her mouth being a speaker.
Science Gallery Dublin ran a careers event - 'Werk' - for secondary school students in March 2017 as part of the EU Project Hypatia. I taught students attending the event how to light up the free tote bags they received at the event with a simple LED circuit sewn with conductive thread.
In 2016/2017 I worked with Transition Year students participating in Science Gallery's Education programme to make interactive posters, using Makey Makey and Scratch.
Students learned how to write Scratch sketches that played sounds in response to key presses, and then created interfaces to play the sounds using a mix of conductive and non-conductive materials.
Workshop for Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire in 2016
Workshop for Edinburgh Mini Maker Faire 2016
Spirolaterals are geometric patterns that are generated by a maximum step size and an angle. Pick a starting point, and take a step. Turn by the angle, and take two steps. Repeat until you reach the maximum step length!
Participants in the workshop chose a pattern and embroidered it onto a piece of fabric.
On my last day working for Science Gallery Dublin I coordinated a bee hotel workshop for three different 'green schools’ - schools actively working on sustainability and environmental projects - in collaboration with Trinity Access Programme and Trinity College Dublin School of Botany.
Bee hotels are safe places for solitary bees - species of bee who don't live in hives, and do their own thing instead - to nest and lay eggs at the end of summer, where they'll be safe throughout the winter until they hatch the following spring. There are many many species of solitary bee, and nowadays it's common to see bee hotels around the place. If you're thinking of making your own, there are actually a lot of things you need to take into consideration to make sure they'll function well (and don't accidentally kill the bees…). This is a great source I used in my research.
I ran this workshop with the help of two of my all-time favourite Makeshop team members - Kate Maloney and Louis O'Sullivan - a group of student teachers, and Science Gallery Research Coordinator Joanna Crispell. Armed with bamboo, logs with holes drilled in them (specially drilled to be around the right size for the bees), pine cones, and bamboo skewers, groups of primary school kids arranged the materials in frames made by Joanna and her husband Joe.
The kids also decorated their bee hotels (this part got quite competitive) and brought them back to their schools afterwards.
In May 2018 the International School of Amsterdam came to Makerversity for a design challenge day, and member Duncan Gidney and I set them the task of designing and building kites, using only basic materials, and without detailed instructions.
We chose this activity partly because of the size of the group - 100 kids - was more than we could fit in any of our indoor spaces, and we were lucky that the weather cooperated and it was sunny (with a little wind) on the day.