Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Making your own digital creatures

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

I often come up with a million ideas but very seldom do I follow them through. So for 2o11 I am motivating myself to do more. (also reading this to help Make Ideas Happen... its good). One thing I have been extremely interested in lately is behavioural economics. Which has led me to find a number of interesting pieces of technology that utilise this behaviour for a positive outcome for an individual. Like this cool alarm clock that every time you press snooze it puts money into your savings account. So when I was perusing the School Of Life website I saw this fantastic course called Digital Creatures... and thought why not.

We learnt about the arduino which is a open source electronics prototyping platform that you can use to create all sorts of things. I had seen many youtube videos and cool things that people had created using them. But actually seeing one in real life and having a play was interesting, fun and frustrating all at once. I seemed to be ok at the soldering which is good. We created our little digital creatures. Which had a LED nose, Two eyes that were sensors, a mouth that was a speaker and knobs for ears to turn things up and down.

I believe it was probably my laziness and the hope that my housemates would never ask... but the refitting of an electric plug didnt go down all that well. After three attempts I finally got it... plugged the light in to see it working fine... then dropped the light on the ground and almost started a fire....oops

Well onto writing code for the Digital Creature. We were taught to write code for the light to come on, the colours, changing loops and changing colours, inclusion of sounds and other cool stuff . Although Dan the guy teaching us was great and very engaging. I soon remembered why I slept through my last few years at school. Im not a very good listener... I need to LISTEN / DO / ASK... being a guy I struggled to multitask and grapple with it all at once. But in hindsight and playing with it a little bit after I left. I felt I understood what he was saying and now its more about playing around for myself. Which I often find is the best way for me to learn. WATCH THIS SPACE

It was a great day out ... although very draining on the mind and I wasnt even hung over like some, so I cant imagine the pain they felt. I had a great time learning something new. I met some really interesting people and generally thought energy and enthusiasm from everyone was great.

So check out the School of Life which has a huge amount of cool things going on that are interesting to say the least

and Dan and Bethany have started their own little education program called technologywillsaveus so get involved

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