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Cue Robot – August 1; Deconstruction Night – August 8

Our last two Discovery Lab sessions are August 1 and August 8.

The special workshop on August 1 will explore the Cue Robot and its capabilities. These impressive characters can be coded using a Scratch-like interface and come with a variety of attachments for special missions.

Our final night we are looking to tear into a variety of electronics and appliances to see what is inside.

August 8 we cap the summer off by opening things up to look inside. We’ll have old computers, video players,small appliances, and whatever else we can get our hands on to pull apart and poke around inside. We will provide as many tools as we can get our hands on, but if you’d like to bring a few toolswith you (screwdrivers, pliers, …) that would be welcome. Make sure they are well-labelled and easily identifiable.

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Discovery Fair Saturday August 3

What does a summer of Discovery look like? Come check out the Discovery Fair Saturday August 3 from 10AM to 1PM in the lobby of Clippinger Labs on the Athens Campus of Ohio University. There will be a combination of hallway activities and projects spanning the range of 3D printers, Maker Cart Constructions, Arduinos, Cardboard construction and engineering and anything else we’re inspired to bring. There will be a special appearance of the WOUB Learning Lab and their robotic friends. The event is supported by the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery, WOUB Learning Lab, State Farm (Discovery Lab materials) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. If you are interested in showing off your latest or favorite project, contact Mark Lucas at lucasm@ohio.edu. We’d love to see what everyone is doing!

Parking (https://www.ohio.edu/athens/parking): The large lots in front of Clippinger (83 and 84) no longer exist (though it is cool to look at the new Chemistry Building going up!) Parking is available in Lots 86 and 88 directly behind the Clipping and in the Lots 87 and 93 by Ping (meters are 24 hours-7days a week but unmetered lots are open on Saturday – just read signs carefully). Lot 134 by Walter Hall is also an option.

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Game Design Workshop – July 25

On July 25 Jeff Kuhn will lead a workshop on game design. Last week looked at some of the technical details of making games using Unity. This week will focus on design and level design using a different software package. Jeff writes, “Making games, both paper-based and digital, is one part technical skill and one part design. In this week’s Discovery Lab workshop we’ll explore the art of game design. After learning some fundamental game design principles, we’ll apply our new knowledge by prototyping video game levels before playtesting them in a digital format. No prior knowledge is required to participate – just bring your creativity!”

As always we will have a bunch of other stations available as well, including the Maker Cart, Doodle Pens, Circuits, Arduinos, and Cue Robots.

Don’t forget that there is a special Artemis Night on Friday July 26 for those who are interested (see neighboring post), and the Discovery Fair is coming up on Saturday August 3 from 10 AM-1 PM.

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Game Design and Unity – July 18

On Thursday July 18 Jeff and Hope will be leading a Game Design workshop as the main workshop. Come learn how to use the Unity Game engine to create a sample game. The first week will work with the nuts and bolts of creating a sample game in Unity, a powerful, freely available tool used by a lot of the game design community. In following weeks, they will continue to work with those who are interested on elements of design a game.

As always, our other stations – Maker Cart, 3D Printing, Doodle Pens, Cue Robot, Arduinos, … will be available.

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Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator Night – July 26

Ever wondered what it might be like to work on the bridge of space ship?
Come join us for a special Friday evening playing Artemis.

Artemis is a Spaceship bridge simulator game, where multiple people staff each ship bridge (a full bridge includes a captain, helmsman, weapons, officer, engineer, science officer and communications officer). Basically think “Star Trek”. Up to 8 ships can play off of one server. It can be a lot of fun, but it does require multiple people to play. Information about the game can be found at https://artemisspaceshipbridge.com/

We will gather in Clippinger 045 for the event (the normal room). All are invited, including parents and other you think might be interested.

We will cart over a pile of laptops from physics  and anyone who has
a windows-based laptop can bring their own if they’d like. The software will be made available, but will need to be removed at the end of the evening.

For the afficianados, the intention is to use version 2.7.1 (the latest).

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

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Programming Night – June 20, 2019

Thursday June 20 we will have a focus on programming in addition to our standard stations (3D printing, doodle pens, Maker Cart, …). Those of you who submitted 3D print jobs June 13 can pick them up on the 20th.

We will have a workshop on programming with Scratch, a graphical programming created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab (I still love the name and the idea that you can get a PhD from this group!). Scratch provides a great entry path into programming, but is also capable of quite sophisticated work. The general block-programming format has been replicated by a lot of different groups.

For those of you new to Scratch, we will provide an introduction and several challenges to try out in Scratch. For those who have already spent some time with Scratch on their own or in school, we will have available Cue Robots (which can use a Scratch-like variant or javascript for programming) and Micro:bits, which are an Arduino like microcontroller which can naturally interface with Scratch 3. (Micro:bits can also be block programmed independently or programmed in MicroPython.)

We will have a some “communal” scratch accounts available for use, but if you’d like to save and share programs under your own space, you can head to scratch.mit.edu with your parents and create your own account.

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3D Printer Workshop June 13, 2019

Mr. Nick Conroy will lead a 3D printing workshop on June 13. We will have several printers available. Nick will discuss the basics of 3D printing and participants will learn how to create 3D models in Tinkercad. The printers will be available to print models, but the reality is that a single print may take a while, so some prints may need to be left for subsequent weeks. Tinkercad is a free online tool supported by Autodesk. In order to save your models, you need to set up an account at https://www.tinkercad.com  There will be a limited number of temporary accounts set up, but if you can set up an account in advance (click sign up in the upper right corner of the screen), that would help.

In addition to 3D printing, a variety of other stations will be available for open work (video production, maker cart, arduinos, makey makey, etc…).

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/417587182129496/

Clippinger 045 – Ohio University, Athens Campus – 6-8PM

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First Discovery Lab Session Thursday June 6

The first Discovery Lab session of the summer is upon us! The first gathering will be Thursday June 6 from 6-8PM in Clippinger 045. We will split our time between a building challenge/design activity and a look at some of the different kinds of activities that will be available this summer in Discovery Lab sessions.

Again, the age range is 6th grade through high school. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to stick around as well!

A Facebook event is posted for this first evening. Feel free to like it and let us know if you’re coming (reservations are NOT required). The link is https://pixel.facebook.com/events/777388912656071/

Due to the construction of the new chemistry building, the parking lot in front of Clippinger has permanently disappeared. The simplest way to get to the room is to enter through the door at the South West corner of the building (closest to Pond on South Green Drive) (see figure).

 

 

 

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Lucas as lucasm@ohio.edu

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Getting Ready for Summer 2019!

Plans are shaping up for Summer 2019! We are excited to officially become Discovery Lab as we become a part of the programming for the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery. We will continue to meet in the basement of Clippinger (Room 036) on Thursday evenings from 6-8PM with possible special events on Tuesdays and/or Saturdays.

We will kick off on June 6 and go until August 8 (with plans to take Thursday, July 4th off). And save Saturday August 3 for the Second Annual Discovery Fair, a chance to show off things you’ve done during the summer.

For those new to AthensMakers/Discovery Lab, we strive to create an environment where kids 6th grade through high school can gather to explore a wide range of STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities. You can wander the web site to see what kinds of things we have done in the past. They include things like 3-D printing, Arduino Microcontrollers, construction projects with the Maker Cart, green-screen and stop motion videography, and more! This year we intend to run a combination of open exploration space in parallel with workshops where those who chose can learn new skills in a guided environment.

At this time the programming is free, though there may be some special workshops advertised that require a special fee to help pay for materials the students take with them.

And as always we encourage parents to hang out and learn alongside their kids!

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Arduino Day Celebration – Saturday March 16

Come Celebrate World Arduino Day! The event will be held Saturday March 16 from 1-4PM in Clippinger Lab Room 035 on the Athens Campus of Ohio University. Co-sponsored by the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery, the Ohio University Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Athens Makers (now Discovery Lab), we’ll gather for a time of workshops and sharing of sample projects for beginners and advanced users alike. Check out the pin at the Official Arduino Day website: https://day.arduino.cc/

The event is free and open to the public. Everyone is welcome, though the work will be most appropriate for ages 11 through adult. Laptops and Arduinos will be available for people to borrow for the workshop time.

A variety of sample projects will be made available in the space. Beginner workshops will be available starting at 1, 2, and 3. Space will also be provided for those who would like to bring projects, either completed or in progress, to share with others in the community.

No registration is required, but if you have any questions or know in advance you intend to come, please feel free to contact Mark Lucas at lucasm@ohio.edu.

If you are coming from out of town, the best route is to take US-50/33 to the 682 exit south of campus. At the roundabout head North over the Richland Avenue bridge towards the Stadium. At the first intersection turn right onto South Green Drive. Clippinger is on the left just past the pond. Parking is available around the area. Do NOT PAY for parking. If you go past Clippinger, the lot on the right should have free parking as long as you don’t park in a metered spot. The best entrance will be the Southwest corner of Clippinger right off of South Green Drive. Head downstairs and you will find the event rooms.

 

 

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Discovery Fair – Saturday August 4

What does a summer of Discovery look like? Come check out the Discovery Fair Saturday August 4 from 10AM to noon in the lobby of Clippinger Labs on the Athens Campus of Ohio University. There will be a combination of hallway activities and projects spanning the range of 3D printers, Raspberry Pis and Artificial Intelligence, Arduinos, Cardboard construction and engineering and anything else we’re inspired to bring. There will be a special appearance of the WOUB Learning Lab and their robotic friends. The event is supported by the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery, the Discovery Lab/AthensMakers, State Farm (Discovery Lab materials) and the Department of Physics and Astronomy. If you are interested in showing off your latest or favorite project, contact Mark Lucas at lucasm@ohio.edu. We’d love to see what everyone is doing!

Parking (https://www.ohio.edu/athens/parking): The large lots in front of Clippinger (83 and 84) will be closed by then for construction of the new Chemistry Labs. Parking is available in Lots 86 and 88 directly behind the Clipping and in the Lots 87 and 93 by Ping (meters are 24 hours-7days a week). Lot 134 by Walter Hall is also an option.

 

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Makers Continues Through Thursday August 9

We have been meeting weekly Thursdays at 6PM and doing lots of great things. Jeff has pulled out the Google Voice Kits and he and his team of kids have those running. Silas and Kyle are making great progress on their cardboard home with automation, and they’re looking for help with the interior decoration. Each week people have been delving into 3D printing, Arduinos, construction and movie making, discovering new skills and stretching their creativity!

Thursday sessions continue through Thursday August 9, and it’s never too late to stop by. With this open format you can wander in any week and try things out, even if it’s your first session of the summer.

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Thursday June 28

Last week we had the 360 degree camera and the Raspberry Pi added to the mix of activities. I got to check out the 360 degee camera, and it’s cool. Definitely something you want to check out Thursday during a break from your other projects!

As for the Raspberry Pi, Jeff and some of the participants began exploring the world of machine learning. They trained an artificial intelligence software running on a Raspberry Pi microcomputer to detect a hands-in-the-air gesture in a live video feed. Once the software learned their input they used a simple python script to trigger a cheering sound each time their gesture was recognized in the video feed!

We also need someone who wants to learn how to solder to help put together a couple of “persistence of vision” kits.

In addition to the stations above, we will have the the normal stations available:

  • Green screen movie making
  • Arduino microcontrollers
  • Maker cart (sail cars, fan cars, judobots, electric cars, wind turbines and more)
  • 3D Printing and 3D Design
  • Snap Circuits
  • Makey Makeys
  • Programming with Scratch
  • Cardboard Construction
  • Notebook Construction

If you have not made a notebook, consider bringing a notebook from home to keep track of your accomplishments and plans.