Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Meet the Makers!

This last Saturday we hosted a special event for our young inventors, a Meet the Makers session. We like to to invite local scientists, designers, engineers, and artists who make to come in and share some of their creative energy with us. This week during our break between the morning and afternoon sessions we invited students and families from both sessions to join us and learn from Jerry Belich and George Werl.

George demonstrated for us the principles of Chromatic Electricity. He also demonstrated the importance of being able to show off your project. As a practiced magician George enjoys the flourish of a good presentation.

George has been a long-time friend of The Bakken, and is one of our longest running mentors for the Inventors Club. He has a background as an electrical engineer, primarily working on telecommunication equipment.

In this video, George shows how each colored light bulb is controlled by the switch of the same color. The really interesting thing though is that each switch controls the light bulb regardless of what socket the light bulb is in, even when you take the light bulb out of one socket and plug it into another one.

Jerry shared his Choosatron, an interactive fiction machine. He talked about the iterative design process, and the value of trying different things out and finding ways to improve your design. He brought some of the older versions of the Choosatron, and showed us how the project has evolved over time.

Since the older students have been learning how to use Arduinos, Jerry was kind enough to stick around with the afternoon group and get into some of the more technical details of how the Choosatron hardware and software work.

Jerry is an interactive storyteller, theremin player, inventor, and developer for Clockwork Active Media here in Minneapolis.  He just recently completed a successful kickstarter campaign for his invention.

Jerry will be back at The Bakken on November 9th during the Free Second Saturday to share the awesomeness that is his Choosatron with more people.  It is pretty neat, so you should come check it out.

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