March 27, 2015 by Maria Angela Ferrario
Clasp Technology Kitchen @ Cambridge Science Festival, what really happened
94 registered children + 150 accompanying adults (estimate)
n0 material left in the cupboard
210 minutes of solid cooking
125 prototypes invented and photographed
35 video interviews recorded by Ourus
The reception desk (not in the picture) was stationed by Debbie, our lab-mate and Digital Brain Switch Impact Manager. Debs welcomed the budding chefs to the kitchen, handed out Clasp Making Cards, and had the thankless task of asking each parent to fill informed consent forms. All then proceeded through the following four stations:
1. Concept Station (stationed by MAF, blue table); the rapidly prototyped ‘Idea Catcher’ was here presented as an example of ‘not-so-distant-future’ bespoke health tech device. Concepts of modularity, eco-sensitive materials, and the side effects of tech as ‘med’ were also introduced.
2. Materials Station (Steve, green table); the raw tech components were introduced and displayed in three spice racks including: (a) ‘bio materials’ such as corn starch and glycerol mixes, (b) electronic sensors and sensor ‘mimics’, the latter being fictional electronic bits with infinite sensing powers, and (c) Data Moodcons, 3D Printed ‘data units’.
3. Making Station (Adrian and Will, white table); this was the ‘baking’ station where ingredients such as play-doh, sensor mimics, pipe cleaners and Moodcons where used to make sensing technologies. Each prototype was photographed using an LG pocket photo cameras
4. Photobooth (Rob & Dan from Ourus), the children explained their artefacts to Ourus video makers. A total of 35 interviews were recorded.
Back to Lancaster, team Clasp met-up in the new Engineering Building for a debrief. Debbie, Adrian, Will and MAF, were in attendance, joined by Faisal T., fellow researcher at School of Computing usually found in InfoLab21 ‘dungeons’ (Making lab). Faisal works in shape-changing displays with several others at Lancaster University. We discussed relevance of his research to ours in relation to physical interactions with data, more to follow. The session was organised as follows:
1. INTRO Clasp is about making affordable, personalised, responsible health tech that can help people, in first instance adults with autism, to manage stress and anxiety by reflecting on personal digital data collected through bespoke devices.
2. ROUNDS of quick-fired 5-min reflections about the followings:
i) Urgent thoughts, matters urging to be shared (lessons learned, observations) about the Cam experience
ii) Surprising facts
iii) Sticky thoughts (any thought that for whatever reason was stuck in our head)
3. DATA.We then moved to the ‘Data Session’ during which we discussed the photos captured at the making station.
4. NEXT. The Cambridge was designed to inform our next tech kitchen, which is being planned with and for people with autism and their support.
i – ‘Urgent’ Thoughts
a) Everybody can make a real contribution to science, knowing this truly motivates people to engage.
b) Children can be easily influenced, and they often take a suggestion as a direction. We need to be mindful about that.
c) The key objectives of the event were to inspire a sense of empowerment, wonder and care through the design process; it is not just about cool ideas and new devices.
d)The level of details children / people went through in designing and explaining their artefacts
ii – Surprising facts
a) the number of people and the depth of their engagement;
b) the unanticipated number of people and their interest in the subject matter, people were queuing before the event started
c) working with children, yet to be experienced as part of the Creative Xchange
d) The evolving of the story, from making to story-telling
iii – Sticky thoughts
a) Onward impact, e.g.children presenting their artefacts back to their classmates at schools
b) Discussion about different formats of tech kitchen in the future (e.g. classroom set up for a max of 15 childrens)
c) The importance of the venue as a physical space and the crew well-being (e.g. access to water / food), often neglected
d) Excitement about collecting stamps for Making card, the importance to have something take a way a souvenir
a) Similarity to how theatre performances are created;
b) Some children preferred sharing their stories with team Clasp rather than with their parents
c) Popularity of the ‘kitchen metaphor’ – also making your own ice-cream at festivals is very popular
d) Materials on spice racks looked cool
e) The sensors mimics worked well
Our ‘data’ consisted of 125 photographs snapped at the ‘Making station’ with the LG pocket camera. The list below is not exhaustive. The artefacts may not appear with the correct name or label. Some of the most interesting artefacts will be uploaded in our collection.
This is a not an exhustive list, more is to come.