Last December, the Tinkering Studio hosted designer, educator, inventor, and entrepreneur Jie Qi as an Artist-in-Residence. Jie is no stranger to the Tinkering Studio - in 2012, she visited the Tinkering Studio at the PFA and hosted a workshop for the Tinkering Studio team and for museum visitors. During this residency, Jie shared her work with Chibitronics, an open hardware company that combines paper craft electronics and programming, through through workshops with our team and with High School Explainers. She also worked on her own piece that highlights next-level components from Chibitronics.
R&D with Chibitronics
On the first day of her residency, Jie led a workshop on programming a Chibi Chip and Clip. The Chibi Chip is a microcontroller that can illuminate LEDs and code unique patters in the MakeCode programming environment. A unique feature of this microcontroller is that it transmits the code through sound through a 3.5 mm headphone plug. This makes programming across devices (computer, tablet, smartphone) possible.
During this time, we all took the opportunity to follow a personal interest of ours related to paper circuits. I partnered up with Sebastian and created an interactive paper circuit. We drew children holding hands around a beating heart. The heart illuminated and started beating once a circuit was completed. This can be achieved by joining the circle and holding hands with the children, or even holding hands with another person.
— chibitronics (@chibitronics) January 7, 2019
Weekend trainings with Explainers
Mario and I hosted Jie over the weekend for a special Explainer training. High School Explainers facilitate paper circuits for visitors on Saturdays and Sundays, and this training was a unique opportunity for them to explore programming with paper circuits.
Explainers paired up to create paper circuit projects that were meaningful to them. Since it was December, many holiday-themed cards were created during the workshop. Here are three projects: a Santa hat, Santa on his sleigh, and a menorah.
A personal project
In her spare time, Jie created a playful paper circuit in which she illuminated a paper candle and blew out the "flame" using three different physical switches. Check out her explanation of her project:
When we host artists and tinkerers in our space, we gain insight into their practices as creators and collaborate on how to share their unique perspective with learners. With Jie, we played with code and thought more deeply about how to bring programming and paper circuit activities to Tinkering Studio visitors. We will continue exploring this intersection and how we can bring this computational tinkering experience to visitors in our space.
This work was supported by a grant from Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation
This project was made possible through the generous support from the LEGO Foundation