Favorite Tools and Fantasy Devices

Class 1 – Wednesday Sep 7, 2016

I know it. This is going to be one of my favorite classes here at ITP. Melding the two worlds, one physical and one digital, is something that I always was allured to. The course description is perfect for my interests and I hope I can bring 100% to it.

I loved the first question that Tom, our professor, asked us, “What is your favorite tool and why?”. A tool, by definition aids in accomplishing a task, often times much more easily than if you did not have said tool. The answers everyone gave were varied and unique. I said my Uniball .7mm Jetstream pen and my Moleskine notebook, as that’s where I develop ideas, sketch, reflect, and think about the world around me. That physical connection I have with my notebook is something that can never replaced by the computer.

After the break, Tom split us into groups gave us an assignment to build a fantasy device. Paired with two bright, creative students, Alex and Shaun, we decided to build a prototype for an ocean vacuum, to suck up all the trash that has unfortunately collected in our oceans.

We went to the shop and started to collect various pieces of items from the junk shelves in the shop to begin building our fantasy device. We had no idea what it was going to look like, but we let the items help inspire the design and quickly, we began to see a vision for our “creation”. We drew a quick sketch of this design and began to pull parts out. We found a stool, some fabric, some light fixtures and began taping and stapling away. Everyone was so eager to pitch in and just work on this, that it felt so automatic and seamless.

We began to think about some of the questions believed would be asked of us in class:

  1. How do we prevent animals from getting sucked in?
  2. How is the trash disposed of?
  3. Where does the robot go after it’s full of trash?
  4. how do we prevent clogging the system from algae?
  5. Is it completely automated or can their be a manual override?

We developed answers to all these questions (or at least our best attempt at a solution) and once time was called we piled into class, ready to talk about our “creation” and to hear from other teams.

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Some of our classmates has some excellent ideas around teleportation, air cleaning, translating dog barks into English, and realtime translation devices. Our device, Tom said, was already being developed by a former ITP student. That’s good that we were on the right track in terms of our thinking, but maybe we could have thought of something even more impractical to design around. I’m not sure, but it was a great exercise in getting our minds to think in this creative, yet very practical way.

If the rest of class is going to be like this, I’m going to be in for a treat.