My Friend’s Shark

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Kids drawings for inspiration

This is a tiny project for my biggest little friend in the world, who also takes really avant garde pictures and is a progressive DJ at 7 AM in the morning. Landu made an impressive drawing for me and Ismael because he wanted to ask us to design him a remote controlled speedboat. The idea of knowing people who make toys was rather tempting. I thought that using his imagination to create a small plaything was very tempting too.

 

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The original speed boat jet boat design. Sorry buddy, still working on the boat.

 

Unfortunately for him I ended up being more interested in his sharks than his boat so I took his drawing and turned one of his scary fishies into a real biting monster (sharp teeth and all) or just a really cool clothes peg. If it’s not a little dangerous, it’s just not interesting if you ask me. Mum approved the design. By the time I went back he already forgot about drawing the shark… Ah well.

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Franz – a toy for wunderkammers

Magic toys for grown-ups: a personal and emotional learning process in making

Franz is a wall mounted bumblebee and my first design of making toys for grown-ups who dream of having ‘wunderkammers’, and my final project for Fabacademy 2015. For my final project I had to include a number of techniques into one integrated project.  I decided to indulge in my private obsession with movement machines (they range from dancing bodies, to augmented reality performances, to mechanical choreographies like Franz).

Techniques and Materials:

3D printed ABS (Rhino), Lasercut acrylic (lllustrator, Inkscape), Lasercut wood and acrylic. Electronics from scratch: Attiny84, unipolar  stepper motor, microphone, bulbs (Eagle, Arduino, Fabmodules).

Made at: Fablab Amsterdam

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Colors Game

Physical collaborative play for teenagers with cognitive disabilities

Bandjes is the result of the Playful Learning project I coached at MediaLAB in the spring semester of 2015. In collaboration with Orion (Amsterdam’s organisation for special needs education) we developed a game for teenagers with cognitive disabilities and varying levels of motor skills. The goal was to improve their communication skills, collaboration skills and the level of intensity of their exercise in the gym classroom. The game offers a playful way to increase the level of self-reliance, by practicing social skills. Players can only play the game by looking at each other’s headbands, located near the eyes: it promotes making eye contact and asking each other question about the status of their headlight.

The game consists of 4 bluetooth enabled head bands with an RGB LED that can change color. The basic elements of each game is that a player cannot see his own color, only those of the other players. The logic of the game changes with the different variation (eg. “tag” or tikkertje is one of them), but each game requires the players to communicate in order to navigate the playing field and reach the goals of each game variation. Bandjes comes with 7 documented game variations that can be initiated through a desktop application.

Bandjes is far from stupid, but it isn’t smart.

This game isn’t ‘smart’ and it doesn’t track, playing is the means and the end. The only wireless communication necessary is for the system (the computer application) to control the lights of all the players so they remain well-calibrated and timed for smooth and exciting gameplay. Digitally measuring students’ progress is necessarily in their interest so the conscious decision was made not to enable any data collection because it wasn’t necessary to play this game to the fullest.

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Bandjes: a highly playable flexible game

The result was a game that was very exciting across the strongly varying levels in the classes we worked with at Orion. Because the concept was so simple at its core, it remained a lot of openness, and space to reinterpret the gameplay by adding rules, props or objectives. It turned out it was a game playable across ages and abilities: our partners, friends, parents and kids all played together at the final presentations at MediaLAB.

Publications

Bandjes was presented at Media Art Futures Interactivos? 2015 conference in Murcia (Spain) where the first iteration of the prototype was developed as well in co-creation with conference participants and organisers.

Students: Nick Bijl, Dennis Reep, Anne de Bode, Jill de Rooij, Alexander Sommers. Frank Honkoop & Marjolein Duchateau (Orion). Menno Deen (Lectoraat Games & Play)

Modular anti-stress bird kit

Modular anti-stress bird kit

As part of FabAcademy week 3 I had to design and produce a snap-fit construction kit with the lasercutter. Requirement was that the kit can be put together in many ways (without glue or other things, just by snapping it together). Immediately I opted for a playful and expressive tinkering kit: an anti-stress set of modular elements you can snap together mindlessly when under a bit of stress. The fact that their very angry looking machine birds sure helps to get rid of some frustration :)

My birds were features in this Makezine article!

A few weeks later for the Make Something Big assignment I decided to redo the birds in plywood with the shopbot CNC router and scaled them up to 1 x 1 x 1 meters…

VibroBert: Make-Do Robots


Make-do robots: what you can do with stuff

I developed this bug version of the well-known vibrobot for a street event in Zoetermeer. The starting point was to create a little electronic object made of readily available materials, preferably recycled, that is easy to put together for kids so they can teach it to others and make it themselves (from stuff they can actually get their hands on).

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Making vibrobots is perfect for this! Many people around the globe make tons of similar bots, and they’re great and all very different. This one looks like a bug and I called him Bert, he even sounds like a bug.

Making as a street activity 

Bert is made of paperclips, clothes pegs, AA batteries, a miniature motor, a screw (or preferably a wire connector, turned out to be safer), two wires and electrical tape. It was tested in Zoetermeer as one of three street workshops before it was presented ISEA (International Symposium for Electronic Arts) in Istanbul this fall. Emöke Bada, Inge Ploum, Berit Janssen, Kristina Andersen and I worked on various make & play events for the workshop we ran in Istanbul. Download the manual here (Dutch for now). Here’s an impression of this and other street workshops.

Vibrobert was shown at ISEA Istanbul 2011 as part of the workshop Weird/Wonderful Street Fair and was nominated for Bacarobo 2011. Zoetermeer (NL), May 2011


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