Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Our interactive wall is underway!

Last week, when we demoed our 3D printers, one mother asked me, "Why is this at the library?" I think projects like our summer interactive wall will be the answer to her question. Thanks to the help of local artist Sally Dean Mello ,"maker in residence" Kevin Osborn and students from our Tuesday Tinkering Lab, we've begun working on an interactive wall that can be wheeled around the library. Our goal was to have a painted mural wall that patrons can touch with 3D moving aspects.

We started by buying a plastic screened wall which Sally designed and outlined a garden scene. We decided upon this wall because we could move it around the library, or maybe even take it on the road, rather than using one of our permanent walls. For the past 2 weeks, students have been coloring it in with acrylic paint during our Tinkering Lab. We invited art students from the high school to come over and now we have a few newcomers to the Lab. 

While this has been going on, we have also been designing 3D printed moveable parts like butterflies, bees, flowers, and fish to bring the garden to life with our Ultimaker 2, Cube Printer, and even 3D Doodler.  Some students designed their own items while others found already created files on thingiverse or tinkercad. Just the act of selecting what items to print was exciting for them especially for students intimidated by the software.

For the month of July, Kevin will be training students to use the Sparkfun Arduino Inventor's Kit to make the parts move using motion sensors, servos, and sound mp3 shields. Students will learn electronic skills of bread boarding, wiring, and programming the Arduino in C++ code. This whole project has been a wonderful pairing of makerspace and art. Students who might be reticent to learn 3D printing or electronics could be lured in by the artistic aspect of painting the mural and get hooked. Not to mention the marketing appeal of having a finished project to help patrons understand the applications of library makerspace initiatives that were designed by the community. Isn't that what STEAM is all about? Stay tuned for more updates as we go!

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