Learn 2 Teach

Manufacturing Design for Locally Sold Products

What can the people in this community make that he can sell?

What can the people in this community make that he can sell?

Who makes the products sold in your local shop?  If you made something that people liked, would they buy it?  Teaming up with a local vendor is a great way to test your idea.  If you think you have a saleable product, talk with the people running the local shop.  Make a version of the product, figure out how much it would take to manufacture, then see if people are interested in buying it.  If you find that they sell, find out what the buyers like and don’t like about your product.  Change the design to address their needs.  Make some more, adjust the price if you need to, and get more feedback from the buyers and the vendor.

At some point, you should find some product that really works well.  Then you might have a different project:  How to make lots of them so that they will stay in stock in the shop.

Check out this article in the August 17 Boston Globe: Link

Product Engineering Process class at MIT Link


August 20, 2008 Posted by | innovation | , , , | Leave a comment

Modern Designers are thinking with their hands

Think with your Hands!

Think with your Hands!

There is a great article on the New York Times site about how some of today’s top designers are being encouraged to work on physical projects as a way of encouraging their creativity. Adobe is in on the action, providing designers opportunities to build devices and projects. They believe that it helps foster creativity and give insight into the needs of Adobe’s applications and systems.

New York Times Article: Link

Mentioned in the article:

How to Make (Almost) Anything: Link

Sketching in Hardware: Link

Adobe: Link

Make Magazine: Link

Tinkering School: Link

August 19, 2008 Posted by | innovation, Teaching and Learning | , , , | Leave a comment


do you pwn yr phone?

do you pwn yr phone?

Just about everybody has a phone of some kind. Some are really nice, others are really primitive. Basically, it is a computer in your pocket. On this piece of hardware are a lot of common input and output devices: Keypad, screen, earpiece and microphone, pagermotor, backlight for keyboard, connection to one or more network systems. Some phones have other things that are neat for input and output: camera for video and still photos, flash, speakerphone, even gyroscopes and global positioning systems(gps).

So if everybody has these things, and they are so powerful, why aren’t more people using them to their fullest possibilities?

This would teach us a lot about programming for real devices, and would give us the opportunity to find out how to really own the thing that is sitting in our pockets all day. Would your friends play your game, just because you made it?

Facebook Group: Link
Here is the overall concept: Link
Google Group: Link
Google Code: Link
YouTube Group: Link
Flickr Group: Link

August 17, 2008 Posted by | innovation, project | , , , | Leave a comment

Sick of buying gasoline? Go Electric!

Amp Motor Works plans to provide a service converting some Saturn car models into plug in electric cars. In their first model, the customer provides the Saturn Sky and a payment for the electric conversion. The company then takes out all the gasoline motor parts and puts in a fully electric drive train. It should get about 150 miles on a charge. The company has plans for an SUV and a 5 passenger car conversion as well.

Article about the Amp Motor Works electric conversion: Link

Amp Motor Works: Link

Want something a little more extreme? Try out the Tesla: Link

August 14, 2008 Posted by | energy, innovation, transportation | , , | 2 Comments

Nintendo DS Homebrew

Homebrew ds game screenshot

Homebrew ds game screenshot

Tien found this video demo of a homebrew game made for the Nintendo DS. It looks like a lot of fun, lots of detail and intricate environments. The images are all hand drawn in 8 bit tiles. The audio changes based on the scenes. The world will look different depending on the day of the week and time of day.

Why do so many people play only corporate games?  Why don’t more people design their own games and share them with their friends?  Why can’t I buy a memory expansion port for my DS on Amazon, or many other places?  I don’t want to pirate games, I just want to play games made by real people in my community.

Tien’s entry on Bob’s game: Link

Video of the game play: Link

August 13, 2008 Posted by | learners/teachers blogs | , , , , | 1 Comment

Learn 2 Teach Project Exposition, August 15, 2008


For a full size file of image, follow link below

The project Exposition is a significant event in the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program. This event is free and open to the public.

If you would like to know more about the program, please view the project wiki at: http://learn2teach.pbwiki.com/ This wiki has been written by the participants of the program, inner city youth from many of the neighborhoods of Boston. In it, they explain their projects, and use the wiki to store information about how to work with computer programming, music composition, digital imagery, alternative energy and digital fabrication.

For three weeks at the start of the summer, returning youth teachers and first year youth teachers trained each other in each of the above learning modules, a continuation of the training process begun during the Spring during Saturday learning sessions.

For the second three weeks of the Summer, all the youth teachers work on two complimentary projects: The first is teaching elementary and middle school aged youth in 18 community centers in Boston. The second is a group project in which four or five youth leaders work to create a solution employing many of the learning modules listed above to demonstrate how the community could benefit from their design research.

If you would like to know more about the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program, please visit the following links:

Full size image of the invitation – Link

Wiki – http://learn2teach.pbwiki.com/
Blog – https://l2ttl2.wordpress.com/
Flickr account – http://www.flickr.com/photos/28629285@N02/
Flickr group – http://www.flickr.com/groups/721032@N24/pool/
Facebook Event Page – Link

August 9, 2008 Posted by | event, Teaching and Learning | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Feedback from Roslindale Community Center

Alternative Energy at Roslindale Community Center

Alternative Energy at Roslindale Community Center

This message is from Susan Klimczak.  Susan is in charge of handling many of the administrative functions in the Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program.  Among other things, she maintains contact with the organizers of the individual community centers that we teach at.   

Below is part of an exchange with the director of the Roslindale Community Center in which Donna Parker was asked for feedback on how this year’s L2T program is running.

Here is what Donna Parker of the Roslindale Community Center said about this year’s Learn 2 Teach program:

can definitely see a difference this year. Overall the program feels stronger and more organized. I can feel the depth of experience with the mentors having more then one year of experience under their belt.
We absolutely love PICO and were so sorry that one of the motors went missing on our watch….the met with the kids and tried our best to reach out to their good hearts to get it returned but it did not work. They each had a chance to go into a room anomously and leave it if they had it….
The Director of the Community Centers asked me to order a new one for you. As soon as it comes in I will get it to you….
We are going to order a kit for ourselves at the same time….that is the good side of it.
I only had a couple of suggestions so far which I put on the forms…
1)  Ask sites to have a lamp with the right type of lightbulb available for Alternative Energy Lesson
2) Ask sites to have extra triple AAA batteries and a small screw driver available for PICO
3)  The GIMP crew was brilliant. The “Replace the Face” lesson did not work well. It felt out of sequence to their current level of experience with GIMP. Could be a lesson when they have more experience. They realized that and changed the lesson for the second group. They encorporated “Plasma” which they had learned the previous week with a photo….it made a great second lesson as it built on the knowledge they had from the previous lesson. It would make a great permanent second lesson. Most kids had to learn how to find and save images from the internet which was a big part of the lesson itself. Plus alot of them don’t even know what an image is.
I would have loved to see Mel teaching the Archdale kids….were you shorthanded or he did it because he wanted to. I think Carlies 3 sisters were there as well.

susan klimczak
assisting south end technology center @ tent city
assisting the learn 2 teach, teach 2 learn program
359 columbus avenue
boston, massachusetts 02116

August 7, 2008 Posted by | Teaching and Learning | , , | Leave a comment

Design Presentations for IDDS

Several of the participants of this international conference at MIT have come to the Fab Lab for assistance in fabricating parts of their designs.  Their work is very interesting, and the presentations would be worth checking out.

Please join us on Wednesday, August 6, from 4-6pm in the Bartos Theater and
the lower-level of the Media Lab for the final celebration of the
International Development Design Summit (IDDS) at MIT.
(Bartos is located here: http://whereis.mit.edu/map-jpg?mapterms=e15)

The summit has brought more than fifty participants from over
twenty countries to MIT to spend a month learning about design and creating
technologies to improve the lives of people in the developing world.  The
participants will present their projects in Bartos Theater from 4 – 5  and
then display their prototypes at the reception that follows. This year’s
projects include:

a device for decreasing the transmission rate of HIV/AIDS from mothers to
their babies
a charcoal crushing machine to help make charcoal briquettes from carbonized
corn cobs
a rope way system to help craftswomen in the Himalayas get their products to
a pearl millet thresher
an incubator for low birth weight babies in the developing world
a super low-cost computer for educational programs
an interlocking stabilized soil block maker
a pico-hydro electric generator
a hand-held tool for isolating DNA for improving diagnostic capability
a device for generating electricity from a treadle pump

Please spread the word about this final event and feel free to invite
friends and colleagues whom you think would enjoy the gathering!

IDDS is hosted by MIT, Olin College and Cooper-Perkins, and is sponsored by
the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Collegiate Inventors and
Innovators Alliance.  The Final Celebration is located in Building E15 and
is sponsored by the MIT Public Service Center — http://web.mit.edu/mitpsc/

Hope to see you there!

IDDS website- Link

D-Lab website – Link

Amy Smith is in charge of D-Lab – Link

This is a good video of one of her presentations – Link

August 5, 2008 Posted by | event, innovation, invention, justice | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Solar Breakthrough Aimed at Artificial Photosynthesis

solar conversion of water to hydrogen and oxygen

solar conversion of water to hydrogen and oxygen

Scientists at MIT are working on creating a human made version of Photosynthesis. This will allow for us to generate more electricity from the sun than we currently can. At this time, their hope is to use the electricity to split water molecules into two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.

They intend to use the separated gasses like a battery, combining them later and using the resulting electricity hydrogen as needed. The electricity could be used in the home or in a plug in automobile.

Article in Technology Review: Link

Printable version of the article: Link

MIT News Article: Link

Video: Link

August 3, 2008 Posted by | innovation | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Takira demonstrates her work with the Thermistor

Takira needed to use a thermistor to measure temperature and trigger an event in her Pico Robotics program.  Here is a video made the next day where she shows some of what she learned and what it means to her.

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment