On June 15th and 16th, Laboratory for Playful Computation (LPC) students Annie Kelly and Celeste Moreno traveled to Santa Fe to represent the LPC at an incredible event called the InterPlanetary Festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. You can read more about the festival here.
We hosted a booth at the Innovations and Ideas expo where visitors could create space and sci-fi themed postcards using a combination of craft materials and electronics. 120+ visitors of all ages hacked and crafted postcards with us. Some spent a couple minutes at our booth, and others came back multiple times in the same day to make more postcards.
This was our setup at the beginning of the day. We had a variety of craft materials available to use from colored pencils to tissue paper to styrofoam balls to laser cut space-themed stamps.
We had several examples of postcards on display as well. Some were made to light up using paper circuit materials like copper tape and LED lights, some were just paper, and the postcards in the foreground of this image could be turned on and off by shaking a micro:bit (more information on that coming soon).
Shortly after the exhibiting hours started, this pretty display and many of the examples were put away to make room for all of the visitors that wanted to make a light up postcard. Postcards were made nonstop from noon to 6pm and our well-organized crafting/hacking space turned into a beautifully chaotic creation space. (Friend of the lab and PhD student at CU Boulder Megan helped visitors make postcards on Day 1. Thanks Megan!)
While visitors didn't have to make their postcards light up , nearly all of them wanted to. We chose to incorporate paper circuit making into this activity because it's a non-intimidating entry to learning about circuits and electricity that allows for creative expression. The abundance of crafting materials and creativity of our booth visitors led to some great postcards:
Here's a look at a couple of my favorites.
On the left: One of our visitors hacked one of our example circuits. She made a "brain" for the alien by cutting up a styrofoam ball and drawing on top of it.
On the right: One visitor decided she wanted to make a postcard for her dad since father's day was the next day.
Facilitation Tips: After making over 100 circuits with visitors we came up with some tips and tricks for facilitating paper circuits in a setting where you might have multiple people that you're helping at once who are all at different places in their construction process.
Here's what the whole process looks like: