Plunk-O

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On july 6, 2011, Eric Brockmeyer and Kuan-Ju Wu put together a workshop/exhibition: Random Output at the community friendly space ASSEMBLE, in Pittsburgh. Visitors consisted of students and professors from Carnegie Mellon University, local artists and neighborhood children. A night before the show a workshop/soldering party was held during which some of the exhibition materials were assembled.

Two projects were developed for this event: Plunk-O and Robbbutterfly. Plunk-O is a ball run which uses steel balls extracts from old computer mice to roll across copper foil switches. Capacitors were removed from scrapped motherboards to smooth the led light.

This community co-creation blended analog electronics, digital fabrication, community engagement, and ultimately a collaborative installation. While the designers developed the circuit boards and component pieces, attendees arranged the ball runs on Plunk-O and arranged the Robbbutterflys and interacted with both pieces.

Importance to Open Hardware Community.

For this talk we want to share a wonderful experience in our open hardware co creation event - Random Output at Assemble Gallery Pittsburgh. It was a one week project which involved 18 community helpers and 156 visitors during the first exhibition night. The goal of the workshop / exhibition was to engage community youths and collaborate with young artists on simple electronic art projects.

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We structured the event using the following steps: Brain Storming > Gold Mining > Pre processing > Robot Building > Exhibition (as shown above). With the exception of the digitally fabricated components, all processes were done through a collaboration between the Designers and community youths.

Brain Storming: Come up with ideas and discuss feasibility.

Gold Mining: Find electronic components and construction material from recycling. (old PC, abandoned TVs, used wood…)

Pre processing: Using digital fabrication tools from local fab lab to prepare the assembly parts.

Robot Building: Assemble the project. (soldering party, wire stripping social network…)

Exhibition: The assembly space is the exhibition gallery. During the opening we hope to spark conversations between creative youths, local artists, college students, professors, media, and parents.

By following this procedure we hope that a strong community connection can be built up and the knowledge of making things can be spread. Holding co creation events, we can create a space where anyone can engage in art and technology while making physical and nonphysical community connections.

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Date: Jul, 2011

Author: Kuan-Ju Wu, Eric Brockmeyer

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Copyright © 2015-2018 Kuan-Ju Wu