DiDIY Sparks Creativity

An important part of our DiDIY research concerns how digital making technologies can impact on creativity. In order to take a closer look at what interested members of the public might think about the possibilities for digital making and whether they find it exciting, the University of Westminster is running a series of Spark workshops in public libraries. During these workshops participants get a chance to hear about DiDIY technologies and projects, see a variety of technologies demonstrated, including 3D printing, and take part in a creative challenge.

 Guildford library in Surrey hosted the first Spark workshop this week and 10 participants attended the two-hour session. The workshop began with everyone introducing themselves by describing something they had broken. After learning about some DiDIY technologies and platforms, such as makerspaces and examples of makers such as Super-Awesome Sylvia, there was a chance to tinker with littleBits electronics kits.  

Breaking into two groups, the main challenge of the morning was to design and prototype something new – something ‘you always wanted’ or something ‘just for the sake of it’. Both groups certainly rose to the challenge. One team made a spectacular ‘Smart Door’ prototype through which their pet cardboard penguin was able to leave by activating a sound sensor but enter by activating a pressure sensor – much to the delight of the makers. The other team managed a no less complex plan and prototype for a plant watering system called ‘STEM’ that included plans for a moisture sensor in the earth, a text alert system and a prototype complete with light-up model plant. Both teams seemed to really enjoy the challenge and there were lots of positive comments afterwards.

It was apparent to us that among this first workshop group there was no shortage of enthusiasm for thinking about the kind of things that DiDIY technologies might be used for. It was also clearly a lot of fun to play with possibilities and mock-up ideas in small groups. We are looking forward to seeing what future groups come up with!

Image credit: Carlos Izsak, MakerCart.