I love it when there are new toys to play with at the Museum; this Sunday presented me with not one but two. I already knew about the DIY Pinball created by Felix in the MakeShop; I briefly played with it on Saturday and made it clear that I would spend all day Sunday playing with the thing if time allowed. Little did I know that another project would also make an appearance on the Floor on Sunday; a protoype Tough Art piece. Two different projects that needed some testing, a dream come true.
DIY pinball is an amazing project. Its simple yet flexible at the same time. You, as the player, are allowed to create your own paths and obstacles and experiment with what happens when you launch a ball through them. Trial and Error made fun. You could teach an entire prototyping class using this Pinball Rig and nothing else. The materials are simple; peg board, bolts, balls, a spring loaded launcher and some rubber bands. The whole piece is open to inovation and expansion; perfect for the Museum. No rules or goals; unless you want to set them yourself. A toy first and foremost, but a lesson in physics at the same time.
I planned on playing with DIY Pinball all day, but another new prototype emerged on the scene throughout the day. Zach, a Tough Artist, came in to test his project. Tough Art is a program that takes place at the Museum every year. It allows several artists to create something new for visitors to interact with at the Museum. Their project has to be tough; it has to be robust; it has to take the abuse of thousands of kids playing with it. To get to this point takes a lot of trial and error. Thankfully, Zach decided to test out his project while I was around. I love playing around with new projects; I may add my two cents a little too often. But, most artists like to hear criticism and they certainly love to brainstorm ideas.
Zach’s project deals with projection art and minatures. Basically you are shrunk down to fit inside a fish tank sized set. We talked a lot about how visitors would interact with the exhibit. We tried out some different webcams and camera angles. Pure prototyping.
Sunday was full of discussions and playing and (broken record) protoyping. As always, the Museum is always trying to give visitors a chance to play around with new and exciting projects; even if those certain projects aren’t in final form.