Projects are long term plans we are working on that either haven't quite solidified or are still a work in progress. Once completed these project become part of our growing Programs Catalog.
Automata: Machines Mimicking Life
Introduction to the nearly lost history, art & science behind clockwork toys that mimic animal and human life. Learn the basic mechanisms of vintage automata, trace their evolution from the renaissance to the digital era, and begin building your own paper automata toy.
Vintage Video & Media Editing: The Then & Now of media Post-Production
Part demonstration, part hands workshop showing how film movies were taken, processed, viewed, and edited along with hands-on experience doing actual editing with a vintage home editing kit. While working with the old-school technology we will simultaneously do the same editing steps with software on a computer for a stark comparison of just how good people have it these days.
Computer Games of the 1960S: Gaming in the Age of Analog Computing
Given that the smallest computer available in the 1960s had a price tag of $18,000 ($140,000 in today's dollars), required a small cargo van to move (by the time you included interface terminal, storage, and output), and had RAM measured in 12 bit word lengths (24 total characters), how did computer games work in the Age of Aquarius? The answer is that they used mechanical equivalents of the same Boolean logic and Binary systems that run today's computers. This program will explore several of the most popular 'computer' games of the period and provide hands on playtime with them.
A History of Secrecy: The Age of Analog Ciphers, Enigmas & Encryptions
Cyber-security may be a buzz-word of the 21st century, but the practice of keeping information and messages secure and secret goes back many hundreds of years. We'll learn about some of the most famous (and infamous) coding, transmission, and decoding systems predating the digital era and practice writing, encrypting, sending, and decoding messages using historical methods such as cryptograms, flags, and Morse code.
Simple Machines: Compound Constructions & Humorous Combinations
The oldest and most basic components of even the most complex mechanical machines: Wheels, Axles, Inclined Planes, Levers, Pulleys, and Screws. At their heart they use mechanical advantage to multiply force to do work. They also happen to be the building blocks of the brilliant designs of Rube Goldberg, master of needlessly complex, light-hearted contraptions that accomplish the silliest of tasks. We'll learn how to analyze and construct our own simple and compound machines from cardboard and other basic materials and combine them into our own Rube Goldberg contraptions.
Drawing Machines: The Unexpected Intersect of Art & Engineering
Delve into this playful exploration of how artists and engineers have sought to capture the the most human of all activities - Art. Study past and present mechanical attempts to capture the artistic process in the operations of simple and complex machines before building your own art-making automation.
A STEMpunk Middle School Curriculum
Circulating and gaining support/allies/contributors for my pilot program to develop STEMpunk™, first as an extended learning workshop series and and then as a full school year curriculum.