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MakerSpace Training -- dec 6th

I was not motivated to come to MakerSpace even if it is right across the street because of the adequate equipment ITP offered. Plus, I was one of the original workers at MakerSpace in the Open Arts department. However, I am more than excited now that I completed the basic training. The basic training covers most safety stuff I already knew from our shop and Open Arts MakerSpace, such as goggles and dress codes in the power tools area, the importance of ventilation, and several cleaning protocols. We also went over how to use the Ultimaker with a systematic approach. It is helpful since most of my Ultimaker experiences are janky and luck-based. After the training, I am more at comfort to know what to do when the three machines are in use at our shop. It was also nice to say hi to Molly who is so sweet and helpful.


For me, it was more helpful to get introduced to the resources we have at MakerSpace. It is a bummer that we would have to do all separate training for individual aspects, but it makes sense since it would probably be too long and daunting if we go over all of them. I am very excited by the rotary laser etching tool and the advanced 3D printing machines since ITP doesn't have them. I will definitely get trained on them before I graduate.


Reading Response -- oct 31st


Participatory Action Research and City Youth: Methodological Insights From the Council of Youth Research

This article discusses a study of a youth participatory action research program called the Council of Youth Research which focuses on the education of the youth of color. 

I really appreciate the chapter describing the program's goal to cultivate youth voices -- MULTIVOCALITY AND
​ The perspective is also greatly related to the other reading assigned this week. The empowering process is what I can really relate to in this process.

As much as I agree with the research and the initiative of the research, the same way I felt aligned with my gallery that aims to advocate for Asian artists,  I sometimes doubt how empowering programs that have an identity as one of their focuses. However, it is a constant inner debate of mine. 


Freire’s book contains many intriguing analyses of oppression and its effects -- especially the relationships between the oppressor and the oppressed. He proposed that rather than “depositing” knowledge, the students should work towards a solution for the posed questions and problems from their instructor even if the instructor has an answer to the problem. 

I think his approach has some assumptions and unchecked privileged perspectives. For one, it gives a lot of agency to education on the topic of oppression (and that is basically in all subjects). Looking at the current education structures, it is already disillusioned to believe that education itself can change institutional oppression. 

Reading Response -- oct 25th

A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design

This article talks about the interaction design should consider human capabilities that focus on hands and the ability of hands. The rant is that our choice of design limits technology. The most design we see now are still crammed into the old form. The ideas resemble some aspects mentioned in this article on the handmade web by J. R. CARPENTER -- especially with the importance of hands. The latter sheds light on the labor and past of hands whereas the former cares about the experience and the future.

To some extent, I agree that interaction design nowadays is very limited. Yet, it is more and more common to see tangible things designed for a diverse experience. As an ITPer who focuses on physical production, though more artistic and design-focused, a lot of my works are concentrated on tangibility and physicality and a feel and manipulation from hands are important parts of the experience.

What do Prototypes Prototype?

The passage suggests a shift in attention to focus on questions about the design of the artifact itself with examples from real design projects.

Reading Response -- oct 17th


Getting Down to Details: Using Theories of Cognition and Learning to Inform Tangible User Interface Design

The passage stressed the importance of TUIs and created a framework for designing TUIs. What stands out to me the most is the connection between physical and virtual objects mentioned in chapter 3.1. The last project I created is directly conversing with the abstract concept of color and the more virtually-based concept of color encoding. TUIs can act as the bridge between the concepts. Having that goal in mind when designing is important as we develop TUIs.

Seven Principles to Design Embodied Sensemaking, for me, really raised an important point about "cognitive scaffolding". Throughout my own education, such scaffolding processes have always been stressed -- the spare scrap paper for calculations, the white board for writing down your train of thought, etc. I am aware of how important scaffolding is to communicate one's mind to another as well as to themselves. 

However, recently, I have reached a lot of innovative creatives conversing about the importance of iterative processes instead of formulated sketching processes. One example is Alan Winxler's talk here. Most of these school of thought absolutely hates the idea of ideating on sticky notes/whiteboards. The iterative ideation process is what I would call physical scaffolding in creations. It would also help communicate ideas and thoughts to others. It was interesting comparing the two crucial ways of thinking.

Tangible RGB Color Tool -- oct 15th

This is a tool that introduces color encoding in computers.

List of ingredients:

  • 3 Potentiometers

  • 1 10 mm RGB Led

  • 1 Arduino Nano

The small three-potentiometer interface is an acrylic panel banded to the interface shape. The parts are all soldered with pluggable headers. 

Each potentiometer is connected to an analog input port. The readings of the analog input port are fed to the three different attributes of the RGB LED output port. 

I've also made an interface that's based on sliders with linear potentiometers. This opens opportunities to experiment with encoding functions.

Feedback and future integration:

  • Having a virtual output could be helpful in this project.

  • The color changes weren't significant enough with the RGB LED configuration.

  • Would sliders be more intuitive?

Input and Output


Combining this assignment with another project I'm working on now.

The two Arduino are talking on wifi. One is the server that hosts the server and the other is the client which connects the server created by the host. 

On the left, we have a temperature sensor MCP 9808. and on the right, there is a relay that turns on and off based on the readings of the temperature readings.

I will write more about this project later, so I won't disclose more about what this setup will do. Stay tuned!

Reading Response 

oct 11th

Co-Design and Participatory Design

It is already hard to balance and scope for designers. I learned this from Designing the Absurd. 

In the reading for the case study -- Participatory Design of Technology for Inclusive Education: A Case Study -- Braz and Leonara (2017) discuss how participatory design could be included in designing Tangible User Interfaces. They proposed that co-design is good for designing TUIs and proved it with the case study. The community elements in the co-design process intrigue me in the case study. As stated earlier that balance is always hard already for designs, the task of maintaining the balance between all participants seems like an extremely daunting task.

Design Practices: “Nothing about Us without Us”

I was really into Legacy Russell's glitch feminism in the summer. When the bias cannot be overlooked, there are retaliation and perspective that radically empowers and unionize people.

On the other hand, systematic measures, such as adding ethic education to the currently skewed tech-education system, should be taken into place. As futile as it seems nowadays, it might bring positive influence in the long term.


This manipulative assignment is in collaboration with Ploy and Kristina. We made a storyboard with different checker placements for arrangement.

I was responsible for the physical fabrication part. All the parts are hand sanded on the edges as post laser cutting surface treatment. I added the finger dip to make the checkers easier to be taken out.


Ploy did a beautiful design for the instruction page that really completes the look of this project.

A reflection of this iteration of the manipulative is that there are so many different ways to use it. It would even be a great tool for brainstorming or story mad tea.

What I hope to accomplish in the future is to really push it with more user testing. I want to see the different interactions it evokes and how to prioritize certain ones over others.

Reading Response 

sep 26th

Why Tangibility Matters: A Design Case Study of At-Risk Children Learning to Read and Spell

While it seems ridiculous when someone argues that a tangible object will help students learn about texts. The most upfront question is, how would a 3D object help with learning plain text that may be even abstract? The proposed argument is reasonable that texts have spatial-visual properties that will be emphasized and aided by the designed tangible objects. A series of case studies, though limited, shows a significant improvement in the students within the learning period of 1 month.

One of the limitations was the small sample size. They have made some efforts to compensate for the limitation by including both quantitative and qualitative data. In relation to the other reading: The Promise of Empathy: Design, Disability, and Knowing the” Other” by Bennett, Cynthia L., and Daniela K. Rosner, I agree to some extent that the approach of the team in Why Tangible Matter lacks in re-examining empathy towards their studied subjects -- the kids, since they are more focused on practicality and significance.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research Method 

Chap 2 -- Understanding the Problem: Design Research

Summarizes for Goal-Directed Design Research:


The chapter documented the details on how to design a Goal-Directed Design Research. ​I particularly appreciate how the chapter structured and the detailed instruction for all the interviews and bullets. Especially for the ethnographic interviewing techniques, it is especially helpful to have the step-by-step research/interview process.


On the other hand, I want to allude to this talk by Natasha Jen. While the tools and structures are useful and effective. I wonder for design works and creativities is this product oriented forward logic the ultimate answer? Without the form and structure, it became even harder to quantify/qualify the design process. How would you showcase/prove a point to the design?

Reading Response 

sep 18th


The paper by Peggy A. Ertmer and Timothy J. Newby examed how Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Constructivism are to instructional design. The paper first established the definition of learning from various learning theories throughout history. The paper then approached all three perspectives through the scope used in defining learning. Among all the different scopes, this question stood out to me: "How does learning occur?"

I see a lot of connections between the how question to the conclusion on how Instructional design is made under different guidance. Take behaviorism as an example.

Behaviorism focuses on the response to various stimuli and equates learning with changes in either the form or frequency of observable performance. Therefore, the instructive design in behaviorism focuses on identifying and arranging the appropriate stimuli for the learner and arranging environmental settings that were not demonstrated by previous examples.

Towards the end, the paper emphasizes the idea I learned from Confucius at a very young age: "因材施教." There is no best way of teaching everyone, each way instructional design is important since there will be learners who benefit from them. 

The Paper Engineering Paper by Joep (J.W.) Frens explored a variety of Cardboard modeling examples to show that cardboard modelings are a significant tool for designs that allows for simultaneous exploration, experiencing, and communication of design proposals.

Coming from ITP, I know was deeply seeded with the concepts of the cardboard prototyping idea from the earlier semester. Needless to say, the tool is extremely accessible, versatile, and capable. I particularly enjoyed the discussion Frens proposed on the criticism of cardboard modeling where some may argue the cardboard modeling process is time intensive when the exploration might not be worthy of the time. Frens responded to the argument with the example of Lo-fi/hi-fi explorations. I find this quote extremely relatable: "The bottom line is that exploratory models need not be of higher fidelity than the questions that they answer. When Cardboard modeling is used as a tool to design with, aconscious effort needs to be made to match fidelity levels and make effective
use of the techniques." 

All the given tangibles for programming seem to have the idea of connectable pieces snapping into each other.


I particularly appreciated the google video that briefly introduced some backgrounds and the history of physical programming tools. (They also demoed using paper engineering!)


The initial question/response I have is about the logistics of translating coding logic into something entirely modular. There are simple logics where one can easily rearrange and successfully play with the example code, but there are complicated ones where the order is key or too abstract to be visualized (recursion, for example). How could the physical design eliminate false use or represent abstract ideas?


Moving on to the instructional design, I believe like all programming languages there will be a learning curve to the tool. How to efficiently teach the tools to the learner? (icons and visual tools?)

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