posts tagged with the keyword ‘uwm’


Arts+Tech Night

I mentioned back in February that I’ve been teaching a Physical Computing class at UWM called “Electronics and Sculpture” this semester. So I’ve basically been showing students how to integrate microcontrollers into their artwork. (Arduino is the order of the day, though I’ve got one student exploring ATtiny85 chips.)

Students have been working on their final projects, using techniques they’ve learned all semester, and they’ll have their work on display for the public at Arts+Tech Night happening 6pm-9pm, Wednesday, May 18th, 2016. Come on down and check it out. Most of my students will be on the 4th floor in the center area. (Maybe your friends are already going!)


(There is a web site for ATN but sadly, despite my best efforts, It has not been updated this time around.)


KOS 2016

Mark your calendars! Kenilworth Open Studios is happening Saturday, April 9th, 2016 at UWM’s Kenilworth Square East facility at 1915 East Kenilworth Place in Milwaukee.

Besides being able to check out some of the awesome work done by students and faculty, you can see the Digital Craft Research Lab and you can check out what I call the “Physical Computing Lab”, which is also known as “KSE 516″ or “Room 516 on the 5th floor” which is where I teach Electronics and Sculpture.

I’m hoping some of my students can share projects during the event, and I might even have some things to show. If you’re at all interested in physical computing stuff (Arduino, Raspberry Pi, things that move and light up and make noise) visit 516 and I’ll tell you what I know.

(Are your friends going? Maybe you should go with them, or ask them to go with you! Check out the event on Facebook!)



Somehow the folks at UWM’s Peck School of the Arts convinced me to become an Adjunct Lecturer and teach a Physical Computing course titled “Electronics and Sculpture”. Okay, I’m being a coy, I jumped at the chance, and I’m pretty excited about it!

I’ve been playing around working with Arduino microcontrollers for a little over five years now, building all sorts of strange projects, and truth be told, I did a lot of weird electronics projects when I was a kid, and even took electronics classes in high school. As for the sculpture part, I think a bunch of these projects qualify as sculptures.

Potentiometer LED

I’m still designing the course as I go, so this semester is extra hard. (I taught a digital art lab class last semester, but the material was all provided for me.) Developing curriculum is hard! Luckily I’ve got a great group of students are we’re figuring it all out together. I’m also trying to bring in bits and pieces from the world I’m used to; un-conferences, open-source, hackerspaces, maker culture, DIY, etc. So far it seems to be working.

Photocell LED

As for these diagrams, I did them all with Fritzing. I also recently used Fritzing to design and fab a circuit board. Since it’s proven so useful to me, and using it has somehow become part of my job(s) I wanted to contribute. I donated some euros to the project. I wish I could do more, but perhaps in the future I can contribute more than just cash. Still, it’s a start!



I haven’t really posted much about school since I mentioned it in August, but the first semester went well. I made good progress with some of my projects, learned a lot, and ended with 4.000 GPA. I’ve also met some amazing people, and have become re-energized about art and design.

This semester should be even more exciting, as I’ll be a Lab Instructor for Digital Arts: Culture, Theory, and Practice. In Guan-speak I will have what are known as “ducklings”, though I believe “students” is the term most people use.

I’ll also be putting in a bunch of hours in the DCRL doing various projects, which is pretty exciting. I’m hoping to have a new pile of skills by the end of the semester.

There’s also some classes in history, and philosophy, and concepts, and other things I’m not as interested in, but hey, requirements, right? I know it’s all valuable, but sometimes lectures and seminars leave you itching to get into the studio and make things instead of just talk and think about things.

OK, kids, here’s to a great semester!


The Track

Well, we somehow survived another Nerdy Derby event, and while it was a little chaotic, those involved definitely had a good time. None of this would have been possible without the help of Frankie and the DCRL at UWM. Be sure to check out Frankie’s most recent post about building the track.

Track Plans

Everyone at Milwaukee Makerspace was surprised at the size of the track. We’ve had the CAD files for more than a year now, and talked about building an “official” track, but we owe Frankie (and his students!) a big THANKS for making it happen. They put a lot of work into it, and we definitely appreciate it.

Last year we just used a plain old Pinewood Derby track, and I must say, this year was way more interesting! We had a lot of kids building cars, and besides the cars looking hilarious and awesome, we learned that cars fell off the track… a lot! (This turned out to be a good thing.)

Derby Car

Kids are pretty darn creative, and they came up with some crazy cars, and many of the cars fell off the track and hit the floor below, and parts flew off. I was joking that this taught them a valuable lesson every member of Milwaukee Makerspace already knows: When something breaks, we fix it. I don’t remember seeing any kid get upset about their car breaking into 10 pieces. They just picked up as many pieces as they could find and headed back to the build table to try again.

So here’s the deal… We’re going to have another race, maybe before the end of 2013, maybe early in 2014, but this time we’re gonna let Frankie choose the date so he will not miss it!

(If you’re interested in sponsoring the Nerdy Derby, get in touch with me. It really is a fun and educational hands-on event for kids… of all ages!)

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