Chapter Spotlight: Gemini Lab, with Sumit Pandey

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Sumit Pandey

@SumitPandey

Sumit

 

I am based in…

Oslo, Norway

Tell us more about your organization/space.

The Gemini Center is a UX research space for collaborative creation by students, designers and researchers working with the design group. We are a part of the Informatics department (IFI) at the University of Oslo

We were inspired to start a Global Chapter because…

I am an interaction designer who loves making and here at our UX lab we wanted to start a space where people from various departments in the university can come together to make their ideas easily without a very steep learning curve. littleBits is one of best ways to do that. Being the official chapter has helped us gain attention of many groups of people here who are interested in coming to the shared space to explore and create. 

Tell us more about your event that took place last week.

The event was organized to introduce children from the age group of 5 (!!) to 13 to electronics through a mini makerspace. It was three hours long and we created a couple of projects like a drawing machine as a source of inspiration and kept segregated some littleBits for the children to explore themselves. In addition, we used some paper, glue, tape, scissors and lego tub. The space gathered instant attention and children started playing around with littleBits on their own after getting a basic introduction to the basics. A big hit was the Synth Kit. As this was an introductory event where we introduced the group to littleBits, in the given time the children mostly used littleBits only, connecting various components to understand how they worked. Some children managed to make collaborative instruments to jam together and a few of them loved making the mounting boards move and eventually walk them around.

 

 Some of the notable projects that were created were:

Some of the projects that came out of the were a simple windmill created using the DC motor, bend sensor and legos, a simple car circuit with hand held wired remote and several combinations of Synth Kit components to create musical instruments. 

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What did you learn from hosting this event?

– Both parents and children were amazed how littleBits made electronics so accessible and easy for them.

– Kids as young a 5 were able to make make basic connection, which was amazing.

– Well, that we need to order more Synth Kits :). 

– More importantly, we will plan the next workshop with a theme for the projects, so that littleBits are used in conjunction as assets to create complete project rather than using littleBits in tool exploration mode only.  

 Who else in your community inspires you?

Both people in our PhD group, who are really doing awesome work, and the amazing people from Sonen (which translates to the “Zone” :)), with whom we collaborated to put up the mini makerspace. These guys are really bringing the maker movement to our campus in a big way.

What’s next for your chapter?

– “Kitchen Table Coders” style make/hack sessions with the design group. We are also exploring possibilities of incorporating littleBits as a tool for early prototyping for the interaction design course during the fall.

– We are also exploring possibilities for further collaboration with more children’s events in the city. These events are currently planned for the fall and we are in the process of working out the details and the themes for these workshops.

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