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Week 4 News

Weekly Newsletter for 2/10/2012

This Week from Digital Dream Lab!

Makeshop Meetings

Over the past week, we have made a key tech decision in moving forward with our project. After a conference call with SMALLab, we came to the decision that the timeframe and scope of our project did not match what their system provided. The main problem is that their system currently contains a set of 3 trackable objects, where our concept relies on 3 objects as one of the simplest constructions available. The Makeshop team is more excited by our idea than changing it to suit the SMALLab, so we will be designing with our own tech setup.

We met with Penny and Lisa on Wednesday morning to discuss installing temporary equipment in the space to begin play testing and designing. They were very open to getting us in there as soon as possible, and even suggested that installing the equipment during museum hours would allow people to see part of our design process.

System Design

After deviating from SMALLab, we were left with the decision of how best to achieve our deliverable. To research, I set our two programmers to different vision systems, with the goal of plugging them directly into Unity. This will allow more flexibility in the long run. We are currently looking at ReacTIVision and QR codes as a means for supplying information to our system. The output will be tested with a projector and a TV(as requested by Makeshop) to see what works better with their space.

There is still a lot of work to be done in relation to rule sets that govern how the blocks will react in relation with each other, which is also a design challenge in the function and shape of the block.


We have finished branding Digital Dream Lab with the completion of our poster, half sheet, website, and web banner. We’re excited to see them printed!


We visited the CREATE(Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment) lab today to draw some inspiration from some tech projects that have been designed for kids. We met with Jenn Cross to discuss her work with Arts and Bots, and another project at the CREATE lab called CS Bots. Although aimed at an older age demographic, the Arts and Bots platform demonstrates how a simplified and interactive interface can be used to simplify programming concepts. She also discussed some analogies that are in line with our concept to use storytelling to teach basic syntax and relationships.

Next Week

• Tech system stress tests for distance from marker, number of markers, etc.
• Develop art style and template for submission to Makeshop for approval
• Acquisition of equipment for temporary Makeshop install
• Begin prototyping block language syntax and block connectivity, shape, and color