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Posts tagged ‘michael j newman’

Staircase as live, fun gameboard at Science Cafe

Recap — green won with 19 and gold came in at 17! Then it was a free-for-all as we threw dozens of remaining tennis balls down the grand staircase for fun. Good times, good, good times. You can read all about it here or on Boing Boing.

Cal Poly Science Cafe welcomed Michael J. Newman and Scott Hutchinson in February, and together we totally transformed our seventy-two concrete steps into a giant live game board.  We used 1,200 feet of wire, 48 Internet-connected tin cans decorated with green and gold balloons and, of course, tennis balls. The really awesome thing — beyond throwing balls down a staircase, in a library — was that the cans were connected to a live scoring site which players could view on their mobile devices or on displays throughout the library.

Here’s an interview with Scott and Michael about their inspiration and philosophy in making things for fun, along with some tech details:

We also have an awesome montage of the event.

To see the photo album of our fun go to Kennedy Library Flickr, where this photo is from.

You can read more about it and get source files on Michael’s site, Pomp.


DIY: Physical Computing at Play (a preview)

Friday, when most everyone had left campus for the long weekend, we held a meeting in the library stairwell. Tennis balls were bounced, connections were tested and code was altered, all in preparation for the next Science Cafe. I’ve been planning the event with two designers I’ve worked with in my L.A. past, Michael Newman and Scott Hutchinson, and I’ve had to stretch my imagination to keep up with their vision. It involves using the grand staircase in Kennedy Library as a giant game board.


UPDATE: Read all about it on Boing Boing.

Yes, we’ll shut down the stairwell for about an hour on February 10 to test the game using tennis balls and circuits. The aim will be something like this: try to hit the switch (a can) with a tennis ball to beat the other team. Scores will be translated and displayed on nearby monitors. The winner gets lots of glory.

testing two

Here are photos of Michael and Scott’s pre-event make and test. Both workshop presenters are artists and excited about the idea of working with teams of people from all disciplines.

Photo of early ground testsSo, join us for a morning of making, strategizing and playing as we extend computers into the physical space to create a large-scale, interactive game in the library. Arduinos, breadboards, circuits and code all factor into the equation in a hands-on workshop that is open to everyone, regardless of experience. You can read more about the event and Scott and Michael at Kennedy Library Science Cafe. This event is co-sponsored by the Cal Poly Robotics Club.

Science Cafe is Friday, February 10 from 11am-12:30pm in the cafe area on the 2nd floor of the Kennedy Library. Refreshments will be served and games will be played!

Testing_2KeyPad Photo

– Karen