Wednesday, May 30, 2012

341 Backers to Modkit Micro and Counting!

Help Kickstart Modkit Micro!

What's Modkit Micro?

Modkit Micro is a graphical programming environment for microcontrollers.  Microcontrollers allow programmers and engineers to add behaviors to everyday objects and electronic gadgets.  We created Modkit Micro to bring the world of microcontroller programming to the masses.  Modkit Micro helps almost anyone to make almost anything smarter through a simple, yet powerful visual programming interface.

How does Modkit Micro work?

We designed Modkit Micro to be as intuitive as possible, while still retaining the power and flexibility of a real programming environment.  See the workflow below to get an idea of just how intuitive Modkit Micro is:

This looks like Scratch, how is it related?

Modkit Micro is based on years of research at the MIT Media Lab including the popular Scratch project, so it will look familiar to the over 1 million kids and novice programmers who have already been introduced to Scratch.

What Hardware does Modkit Micro Support?

We developed Modkit Micro to be flexible enough to support many different microcontroller platforms and boards.  See the list below for our currently supported boards:

If you are looking for hardware that we currently don't support, make sure to check out the FAQs at the bottom of this page for info on requesting additional board support.

Is Modkit Micro for kids?

Yes. We recommend Modkit Micro for kids of all ages — from 6 to 106!
Modkit Micro is really for anyone who wants to add interactivity to their everyday lives — without dealing with the obstacles associated with traditional programming.  This includes artists, inventors, kids, designers, engineers, educators, students and everyday makers. We've tested Modkit Micro with these diverse audiences in workshop settings, Maker Faires and our Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn educational program.

Here are some clips from a short 40 minute workshop for elementary school students at TEDxKIDS Brussels.  Participants made a tangible version of the standard "Hello World" project by tracing their hands on paper and programming servos to wave at their command:


Why is this important?

Over the last few years, the DIY/Maker communities have pushed to make electronics and microcontrollers more accessible.  As a result, microcontrollers are no longer just for engineers — anyone can now pick up an Arduino board at their local Radioshack!  Now that microcontrollers are even easier to find and buy, they should be just as easy to interact with and program.  Modkit Micro works to make microcontrollers accessible to anyone, regardless of their particular background or skill set.

Now that the DIY/Maker communities have helped move microcontrollers to the mainstream, it is important to support projects like Modkit Micro that help to democratize programming.  By supporting Modkit Micro, you are supporting a tool that will enable the Maker mindset and culture to reach a much wider audience, including schools, community centers, art spaces, and basically anyone else with the desire to create.

Why Kickstarter?

We're launching Modkit Micro on Kickstarter to produce copies of the desktop version on a flash drive and to provide early access to the online version to our supporters.  Unlike most Kickstarter campaigns, we wanted to give our supporters something before our campaign is even finished.  Support Modkit Micro at any level that includes early access to the online version through the Alpha Club and you'll be able to redeem that part of your reward by June 1st.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Modern Tech Upgrade For The Lilttle Black Dress

By Emma Hutchings on May 25, 2012

This illuminated dress made up of film slides is a wearable tech version of the little black dress. The Little Slide Dress, designed by Emily Steel, blends modern technology with classic film and uses light to make the images come alive. The individual slides are backed with LEDs that are controlled by a light sensor that is connected to an Arduino Lilypad. When there is lots of light, the LEDs turn off and the dress looks shiny and black, with subtle hints that there might be more to it than meets the eye. When it gets darker, the LEDs are switched on and as the lights slowly pulse, the slide images are revealed.

Emily Steel on the inspiration behind the dress:
The Dress draws inspiration from classic movies and the ‘magic of film’ to create a wearable piece of technology and art… light is so important in the creation and viewing of images [in film] and this was one of the driving forces behind the dress’s creation. With film [we] only see what [is] really going on once the lights go out. For this to work there needs to be a balance of projected and ambient light, something the Little Slide Dress tries to emulate.

Weird Alien Dolls, Designed by You

By Tim Maly

It’s April when I ask Makielab founder Alice Taylor how it’s going with Makie, their line of customizable dolls. “It’s going great, with the caveat of the usual (and some unusual) last-minute crazy.” That crazy includes the wrong shipment of eyeballs from Spain, a CTO stranded in America, a run of dolls with two left hands and some deaths in the team-family. 

All that told, the company hit their deadline last week, launching a public alpha of, a site devoted to designing your own giant-eyed, fully posable moddable, hackable, custom dolls.
Using Makie’s character creator you can customize a doll to your exact specifications. Hit the order button and Makielab will 3-D print your own unique creation, assemble it and ship it to you.
Taylor’s background is at the intersection of games and media and, as you look over Makielab’s first offering, it shows. In terms of look and spirit, Makies have a lot in common with the DIY Blythe doll-modding community. In allowing customers to do some of that customization before the dolls are made, Makie taps into the obsessive attention to detail that can go into creating an avatar for a video game.

And once you’ve got your custom doll in hand, Makie encourages you to go a step further by hacking into it to add electronics.

Read the full article here

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Maker Faire Bay Area 2012 eTextile Lounge

For everyone that will be at the Maker Faire in the Bay Area this year, be sure to check out the following events shared with us by Lynne Bruning!

Maker Faire Bay Area 2012 eTextile Lounge Prince of All Cosmos web watermarked croppable 150x150Electronic textiles, wearable computing and craft tech Makers!
Innovating projects, hands-on workshops and informative lectures
Teach, create and inform the Maker Faire community!

Event: eTextile Lounge at Maker Faire Bay Area
Date: 19 – 20 May 2012
Time: 10AM – 6 PM
Location: Fiesta Hall East Lobby

Maker Faire Bay Area 2012 eTextile Lounge TheTouchGlove3web 150x150SATURDAY 19 MAY 2012

Maker Faire Bay Area 2012 eTextile Lounge Luk vibrato skirt for website web 150x150 
SUNDAY 20 MAY 2012

  • Ally Seley – Sunday May 20 at 10 AM
  • Angela Soft Circuit Saturdays - Soft Circuit Hula Hoop Experiments Sunday 20 May 11AM
  • Dia Campbell NOON – 1PM
  • Shannon Henry of PolyMath Designs 2:00 – 3:00



Friday, May 11, 2012

Crafts in America -- PBS series

We have a deep sense of longing for the handmade. Perhaps because each of us, in our own way, has had a craft experience. Sometimes it's an object passed down to us, or one that crosses our path, and connects us to others in traditions, heritage, and rituals. Craft is all around us. You'll find it wherever you look – hiding in plain sight.
Craft in America offers you a place to explore these connections and to inspire your own creativity – through the PBS documentary series and this website. Join us on this voyage of discovery.
View the programs on the free PBS iPhone/iPad app, online at, or purchase DVDs of the Peabody Award-winning series for your home library. 

To learn more about the episodes or featured artists, click TV SERIES or ARTISTS above. Go to theEDUCATION section for online and downloadable lesson plans. Check the SCHEDULE for broadcast times on your local PBS station, and stay tuned for new episodes coming soon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

E-Textiles @ 2nd USA Science & Engineering Festival

Some pictures from this incredible event in Washington DC on April 28-29th, 2012. We had a small booth, hosted by AERA, the only one with e-textiles among 3,000 exhibits! Students from SLA showcased their e-textile designs.

Sparkfun also was there with two samplers!