exhibit

Explainer Bots

Explainer Bots at the Lawrence Hall of Science

Lawrence Hall of Science - Design Quest

The Challenge:

High School students had a 10-week session in which they were challenged to create animatronic bots that would be able to explain science concepts to visitors. The Bots had to be understandable and intriguing to visitors of all ages while talking about the exhibit where they were stationed. 

Our Solution

Each group of five used cardboard as a base to create an Explainer bot. The interns learned a variety of skills during the session, including programming in Scratch; CAD design; 3D printing; soldering; small electronics; and the user-centered design process. Each group was challenged to create a robot with a unique look and personality. They programmed the robot to make different expressions, then wrote and recorded a script that described one of the Design Quest exhibits.

Results

The intern's robots went live on the floor of the Lawrence Hall of Science on the 19th of December, 2015. The Explainer Bot unveiling drew 300+ visitors, who could learn from the bots and interact with their designers.

Mole-a-Whack @ Maker Faire

The TechHive designed, built, and operated the Lawrence Hall of Science booth at Maker Faire 2015.

Winner of 4 Editor's Choice Awards and 3 Best-in-Class Awards!

Build, Test, Play!

Visitors first built their button, then they tested their buttons on our testing stations, which were built by our TechHive interns. Once they knew their button worked, they played Mole-a-Whack!

Powered by Scratch and Arduino!

The scoreboard for Mole-a-Whack was programmed in Scratch. The scoreboard kept track of scores for each individual player and for the team. This program also paced the experience and provided all sound effects. Check out the scratch program here.

 

 

The electronics were powered by the Arduino Leonardo, which sent keyboard strokes to the Scratch Program. Early prototypes of Mole-a-Whack were powered by the MaKey MaKey.

 

Co-designed by our teen interns

Featured on the Make Magazine Blog too!

Check out the article here.

Town of Terror at Albany High

The Town of Terror was a Halloween festival at Albany High School, designed by the TechHive in collaboration with the Albany High School and Berkeley Engineers and Mentors, a hands-on engineering after school program. It's main attraction was a haunted house called "Escape from Dr. Ella Mental's Laboratory."

WEBSITE: 

http://www.townofterror.com/

CLIENT:

Albany High School

THE CHALLENGE:

Albany High School sought an alternative to their annual homecoming dance, which had been poorly attended in previous years. They wanted a fun and inclusive experience that would attract more students and would raise more money for the school. Typical school events raise about $300 to $500.

Our Solution:

TechHive designed, fabricated, and built a haunted house called “Escape from Dr. Ella Mental’s Lab” and organized a festival called the “Town of Terror” in collaboration with the Berkeley Engineers and Mentors (BEAM), Albany High School leadership team, and adult volunteers from the East Bay. AJ Almaguer, the lead designer, won a Bay Area Inspire Awards to help fund the project.

The project planning began in May 2014 and was completed in 5 months time. The haunted house included a “waiting room” with hands-on science training, a dark hallway with Arduino-enabled flying bats, LED lanterns, and a constructed laboratory exhibit with machines called‚ “Elixir Mixers” with user interfaces that were coded in Scratch. The project involved all aspects of public speaking, coding, writing, wiring electronics, carpentry, engineering design, assembly, and construction for the teens involved in delivering the project.

Results:

Approximately 800 people visited the Town of Terror, which raised $3500 for Albany High School. In addition, 100+ Albany High School students, 30 TechHive high school interns, and 30 UC Berkeley students also volunteered at the event, sharing their enthusiasm and ensuring its success and demonstrating the power of the community. The teen volunteers noted that this experience gave them a lot of valuable experience in project management.

Happy Hollow - MP3 Magic

Client:

Happy Hollow Park and Zoo

The Challenge:

Happy Hollow, located in San Jose, California wanted to add an interactive element to their Danny the Dragon train ride. The solution needed to be low-cost, easy to maintain, and durable enough to handle all weather conditions.

Our Solution:

Patrick Huston, a high school TechHive intern took on the lead to design "MP3 Magic” using off-the-shelf components including an Arduino with an MP3 shield. When the train triggers the IR sensor, it plays one of three pre-recorded audio tracks. The entire unit is housed in a weather-proof case

Results:

The “MP3 Magic” has been part of the Danny the Dragon train ride since September of 2014. This system provides a versatile and low-cost solution to Happy Hollow's challenge. The “MP3 Magic” could be easily customized and replicated to provide sounds to a variety of attractions.

Letter of Recognition from Happy Hollow:

 


TechHive Entry Sign

Client:

TechHive

The Challenge:

TechHive Interns were given a challenge of making a low-cost portable sign for the TechHive studio that could help raise the visibility of the space.

Our Solution:

Using LEDs, soldering, circuit planning, and cardboard, TechHive staff engaged teens creating the TechHive sign, powered by Arduino. Large letters in a Chicago-style Marquee lettering flash in different sequences.

Results:

The portable sign proudly hangs in the TechHive studio and lights up the space when the TechHive is hosting special public events, classes, and drop-in programs. 

The techniques used in making the sign were also turned into paid visitor workshops that teach soldering, introductory circuitry, and cardboard prototyping. TechHive interns help run the workshops based on their learned experiences making the sign.

Insect Photo Booth

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Public Science Center

The Challenge:

The public science center wanted a photo booth experience for their "Open Make Debug" public program to complemented the traveling exhibition Xtreme Bugs.

Our Solution:

The TechHive staff and teens created an "Insect-Only Photo Booth," inspired by entomology collections found in natural history museums. This educational photo booth taught visitors the anatomical difference between insects and bugs by having them compose then pose as an insect on display. 

Teens created English and Spanish labels using Adobe Illustrator, then printed them for gluing onto cardboard for easier handling by visitors. They tested adjustable brackets for the abdomen and thorax to enable positioning relative to the size of the visitor.

Results:

Teens interns gained print production experience and user testing skills by making iterative design improvements,  as well as learned how to support visitor learning during the event. The Lawrence Hall of Science used the photos for social media to drive traffic to their website and to help deepen visitors' experiences.

Member Games - Bug Run

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Member Services

The Challenge:

The TechHive was asked to host an event for the First Annual Member Games, a special public program at exclusive to members of the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Our Solution:

We created a two-player game built using cardboard components and Scratch programming. In order to complete the “Bug Run,” teams of two would have to work together to navigate a digital insect through a winding racetrack. The best times were recorded on the leaderboard.

Results:

The Bug Run was a highlight of the Member Games and TechHive was invited back as designers and facilitators of future Member Game events! Our exit poll indicated that participants enjoyed the game and liked interacting with TechHive teens. The Member Games proved that simple open tools like Scratch and cardboard could be combined to create engaging user experiences.

Cardboard Pacman Console

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Ingenuity Program

The Challenge:

We were tasked to make an exhibit for the Open Make: Toys and Games public program at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Our other challenge was to give the TechHive teen interns hands-on fabrication experience with basic cutting tools as this was one of the first projects completed in the TechHive.

Our Solution:

We made a 3D Model of a console in SketchUp and then created cut templates to fabricate the model out of cardboard using 123D Make. The templates were scaled to life-size using a projector and all of the parts were hand cut by the TechHive staff and teen interns.
 
While the console was made out of cardboard, the screen was a recycled computer monitor, which was powered by an old laptop from behind. The control board was a powered by a MaKey MaKey connected to the laptop and it was designed by teen intern Alex.

Results:

This exhibit piqued the interest of the visitors and it gave us an entry point to talk to kids about conductivity, circuitry, and programming. This project was also featured on the company Tumblr's home page for a few days!


Lunar Xprize Event

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Public Science Center

The Challenge:

The Public Science Center wanted a public program to coincide the release of their new planetarium show from Google Lunar Xprize. The public program would be showcasing the new planetarium show and the Moonbots-In-A-Box kit.

Our Solution:

We created a public program called Moon Missions, which challenged visitors to collect stamps at the five stations throughout the museum floor, including the Moonbots-In-A-Box challenge. We also created a new exhibit prototype called "Robot Basic Training" which allowed for three visitors at a time to learn to drive the moonbots by playing a multiplayer game.

Results:

Leading up to the event over consecutive weekends, TechHive interns learned teamwork, how to test prototypes with visitors, made robot mazes, and wrote and debug computer programs. The culminating event was featured on NBC news. The stamp-passport is now a practice used in other public programs.

Bay Area Science Festival Booth - AT&T Park

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Public Science Center

The Challenge:

The science center desired a strong presence at the Bay Area Science Festival in two locations: with its sponsor Chevron, and with the UC Berkeley's science outreach group to promote the center's programs and services to the community.

Our Solution:

Two experiences were orchestrated and facilitated with coordination across multiple departments: one inquiry-based science activity involved handheld microscopes and Ingenuity Lab-based marble run challenges. We rallied and organized volunteer sign-up and logistics and creates a social media campaign for the institution.

Results:

Teens received coaching towards stronger facilitation of STEM activities. Booths were very active at all times. On average, visitors stayed at the booth for 20 minutes. The venue enabled us to gather images and video to fuel future social media campaigns.

Math on a Sphere

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Center for Technology Innovation

The Challenge:

Math on a Sphere project needed to test the coding platform in a public programs format to be used for museums. An open question was whether museum visitors could be engaged in learning how to code and learn some 3D geometry.

Our Solution:

A program called "Haunted Math" was created to coincide with the Halloween season. A giant spherical projection surfaced (Science on a Sphere) was used to share different designs that visitors could create. Visitors made different kinds of ghouls, cats, and pumpkins by coding on laptops, while other visitors drew onto projections of their faces onto orange balloons.

Results:

Visitors celebrated the afternoon at the science center designing digital and physical objects while learning math, coding, and 3D geometry. Families with kids as young as 6-years old enjoyed seeing their 3D geometric designs projected onto a large spherical sphere while a "DJ" announced each design to share it.

Cardboard Skeeball

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Public Science Center

The Challenge:

The Ingenuity Lab wanted an interactive game made from cardboard to show the potential of the materials. This exhibit would be on display during the month of the Cardboard Arcade Ingenuity Lab Challenge to inspire the visitors to think big.

Our Solution:

After several working prototypes of different games, we settled on a cardboard skeeball game because the mechanics could be easily replicated by the visitors. Sensors were made from cardboard and foil to detect the balls landing in the different chutes. The same sensors were used to create a ball counter. Coded in Scratch, we programmed a score board and sound effects. The Scratch program was connected to the buttons via a MaKey MaKey.

Results:

The skeeball machine was very popular with visitors of all ages. Kids were waiting up to 20 minutes for a chance to play. This project inspired the visitors when they built their own cardboard projects in the space. Many visitors used the same sensors to create their own game that contained ball counters.

The TechHive teen interns took ownership of this project including doing required repairs, design improvements, and maintenance from high visitor use during the summertime.

The Bike Sim

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - TechHive & Public Science Center

The Challenge:

We were asked to create a self-sustaining exhibit that could engage many visitors at once on the museum floor. The exhibit was to survive on the floor for two of the busiest weeks during the summer. The exhibit had to follow the "design, build, test" challenge model of the Ingenuity Lab.

Our Solution:

Adapting an exhibit we originally showcased at MakerFaire 2013, we made an interactive, community-based paper-made city on the surface of a large, bike powered drum. As the bike was peddled, the drum would slowly rotate. A small video camera was mounted on one end of the drum, provided visitors with an ant’s- eye tour of the tiny city. Visitors could add to the city by building their own 4” x 4” lot.

Results:

This project attracted new teen interns to the TechHive because they saw that this project was built with the help of our current teen interns.

As the city was constructed over time and evolved, the experience of riding through it would change. This resulted in prolonged and repeated visits to the Bike Sim. The Bike Sim was built from familiar components (bike parts, repurposed classroom tables, a webcam). Additionally, the mechanics of the Bike Sim were visible and thus accessible to younger visitors who could relate to bike gears. Visitors were inspired because they could create a similar project at home using materials they already have. 

Giant Makey Makey

Client:

Lawrence Hall of Science - Public Science Center

The Challenge:

MaKey MaKey’s are easy-to-use interface devices that can turn any conductive object into a button. However, their small size (3.75” x 2”) makes them difficult to display and explain in a public demonstration or festival setting.

Our Solution:

TechHive created a large-scale, working replica of the MaKey MaKey. An actual MaKey MaKey is wired to the model making it function exactly like a normal Makey Makey. This playful exhibit introduces the public to MaKey MaKeys and helps to explain conductivity in materials.

Results:

The TechHive teens learned about CAD, basic circuits, and electrical conductivity, as well as gained experiences communicating with the public by facilitating this table-top exhibit. We also got to take a photo with Jay Silver, one of the inventors of the MaKey MaKey.