Soft circuit switch

Use a coin-cell battery, an LED, and any conductive material(s) to create a switch circuit. For inspiration, look at this paper circuits tutorial. To receive full credit for the assignment, you must go beyond what we did in class. Be creative! Think about using everyday materials for your switch (a safety pin, a carabiner, etc.) or making a fun object (a piece of jewelry, a birthday card, a toy).

Using a multimeter, measure the current and voltage across your circuit when the switch is closed. Use ohm’s law to compute the total resistance.

Post a video of your project and your ohm’s law calculation to the class blog under the “soft switch” category.

This assignment is worth 4 points
2 points for creating a working soft circuit and posting a video to the blog
1 point for clear documentation that includes your ohm’s law calculation
1 point if your switch idea is fun/creative
1 bonus point if you created a parallel circuit (and included ohms law calculations for each branch)

This course focuses on thoughtfully and critically embedding computational media into the physical world. We will make, tinker, and experiment with high tech and low tech materials. Our hands-on, materially-oriented work will be grounded in theoretical concepts from HCI (Human Computer Interaction), design, and information studies. This course is taught by Stacey Kuznetsov, assistant professor at the School of Arts, Media, and Engineering.

Top 2 concepts

For this assignment, your team will select your top 2 Biodesign project concepts. These could be two completely different directions you’re considering, or 2 variations of projects along the same theme. Ideally, these concepts are based on your storyboards.

For each concept, post

  • a storyboard and 2-3 sentence summary of the concept, including who the target community or user is (your storyboard could be one of your storyboards from last last class, or an updated scenario/storyboard)
  • a link to at least 2 related projects or similar work
  • potential social, political, ethical impacts of the project

This assignment is due by 11.59am on Monday, March 19. Bring your storyboards to class on Monday!

This assignment is worth 6 points

2 points for the storyboards and description of each concept

2 points for posting related work for both concepts

2 points for discussion potential social, political, ethical impacts for each concept


Interactive mycelium prototype

In this assignment, you will work with your mycelium 3D shape to develop an interactive prototype. Your project must include the LCD screen as an output. At the very minimum, your project should be responsive to something in the environment.

You can use capacitive sensing to support user interaction directly with the mycelium object (via capacitive sensing), or have external sensors (e.g., the pulse sensor), or environmental sensors (light, temperature, etc.).

Ideally, your project illustrates a design concept that explores the sustainable/eco-friendly aspects of your enclosure.

You can see some example Mycelium projects here.

A blogpost documenting your project, including code and a video is due on the blog by 11.59 pm on Friday, March 2nd. Tag the post with the mycelium category. This assignment is worth 4 points:

2 points for creating an Arduino circuit and code that makes your mycelium project interactive, and uses an LCD screen as output
1 point for video documentation and a description of how you made your project
1 point if your mycelium project is creative/fun
1 bonus point if you clearly articulate how your project relates to the biodegradable/sustainable aspects of the mycelium enclosure

Post to the IM 2018 forum

Please post or respond to someone else’s post on our IM Forum to begin thinking about final project ideas and groups.

Post suggestions:

  • Share your technical and/or creative strengths and describe what you can bring to the team
  • Describe who you are seeking for your team (what kind of strengths/skills/working styles are you looking for?)
  • Share a biodesign project that inspires you
  • Ask a clarifying question about the Biodesign challenge or the class
  • Suggest a possible final project topic or area of interest
  • Share a (bio)technology, sensor, material, or device that you’d like to work with

This post is worth 1 point. It is due by 11.59am on Monday February 26.

3D Mold for Mycelium

Update: please post the final version of your mold that fits the following requirements by the beginning of class on Wednesday (11.59am). Bring your mold to class and be ready to work with mycelium. There will be no time to iterate on the molds on Wednesday.

In this assignment your group will prepare a 3D shape to be used as a mold for growing your mycelium project. You can use a combination of existing 3D objects (household items such as dishes or appliances), along with rapid prototyping materials (playdough, duct tape, cardboard, foam), and digital fabrication tools (laser cutter, 3D printer) to create your stencil. Your design should be big enough to fit a LCD screen, at least two capacitive sensors and other electronic components of your choice (e.g., LEDs). You will be using Adafruit’s USB + Serial Backpack Kit with 16×2 RGB backlight negative LCD. The size (length x width x height) of this whole LCD unit is 80 x 36 x 20 mm (3.15 x 1.42 x 0.79 inches)

When preparing your mold, make sure it has a draft angle of  3 degrees or higher.

What is draft angle? In order to easily remove your Mycelium object from your mold, the sides of the mold need to be angled. This prevents the Mycelium from becoming locked into the mold. The mold taper is called the draft angle.


Additional Resources:

This video shows how we embedded micro LEDs with Mycelium.

You can see more Mycelium projects here.

Post a picture of your mold on the blog by 11.59am Monday Feb 19, and bring the mold to class on Monday. It is worth 1 point towards your mycelium assignment. You will not be able to complete the mycelium assignment without this step. On Monday we will go through your molds, work on how to use LCD displays, and prepare copper tape based capacitive sensors to be embedded in Mycelium.

Happy mold making 😀