iLab Workshops

In AY16/17 we will be running workshops in two main areas - Algorithms and coding workshops aimed at understanding some interesting yet everyday phenomena and physical computing and tangible prototypes workshops exploring the possibilities that arise from using Arduinos and other devices that we have in iLab.

Coming up

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Creative Fun With Arduinos

Thu 16 Feb 2017 : 13:00 - 16:00

WSA iLab's first-ever Arduino workshop. An introduction to making things happen by hooking up an Arduino processor to your laptop.

This workshop will be run by John Nussey and Avril O'Neil from ONN Studio. The emphasis is on getting creative with the hardware, rather than the details on how it all works.

"ONN Studio® is a multidisciplinary design studio, formed by Avril O'Neil and John Nussey, which specialises in product design and development, research and experimental electronics."" From the <ONN Studio website

Who is this for?

This workshop will be of interest to anyone wishing to find out more about the Arduino processor and how it can be used in a design prototyping context. The workshop will utilize simple Processing code that will mostly be provided ready to use.

Places are limited to ten this time around. You will be asked to evaluate the workshop and contribute suggestions for further events.

You will need to bring along a laptop and to have downloaded the Processing IDE in advance of the workshop. Further information on how to do this will be sent to participants nearer the time. Further information on the workshop content will also be published in due course.

The workshop will be followed by the WSA iLab launch event from 4-6pm - you are more than welcome to stay on for this event.

Book your place

Tickets for this workshop are available on our Eventbrite site.

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Using online feeds for data visualisations

Sem2 16/17 Date tbc

This workshop looks at taking data feeds from the web and using those data as inputs to drive visualisation algorithms on screen. The workshop will include an introduction/refresher to browser-based scripting using JavaScript and make use of the p5.js framework to model the visualisations - p5.js is a re-imagining of the Processing language that enables simple coding of visual phenomena and motion to the web browser. This workshop does not progress past data visualisation on screen. A follow-up workshop looking at using live data to drive physical devices and prototypes will take place later in semester 2.

Who is this for?

This workshop will be of particular interest to MA Communication Design students but anyone with a relevant interest in web-based data visualisations can sign up. The coding involved is not particularly complex but you will probably need to have some prior knowledge and experience of coding - not necessarily of JavaScript. You will need to bring along a laptop armed with a text editor and a download of the p5.js library (details on these requirements will be sent to you after you sign up).

Book your place

Tickets for this workshop will be available via our Eventbrite site in due course - follow us on Twitter for announcements.

Header image: Stefan Sagmeister's Compass Table (Paris 2011).

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Making a simple browser-based game

Sem2 16/17 Date tbc

Taking place on two half days, this workshop uses the re-creation of a classic game using JavaScript and the p5.js framework as a case study for considering how such a game may be created from scratch. The p5.js framework is a JavaScript re-imagining of the Processing language that enables simple coding of visual phenomena and motion to the web browser.

Who is this for?

This workshop will be of particular interest to BA Games Design and Art Students but anyone with a relevant interest in game design/making or the p5.js framework can sign up. You will probably need to have some prior knowledge and experience of coding - not necessarily of JavaScript. You will need to bring along a laptop armed with a text editor and a download of the p5.js library (details on these requirements will be sent to you after you sign up).

Places are limited to twelve this time around. You will also be asked to evaluate the workshop and contribute suggestions for further events.

Book your place

Tickets for this workshop will be available via our Eventbrite site in due course - follow us on Twitter for announcements.

Header image: Tetris screenshot.

Previously at iLab

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Understanding Flocking, Crowds and Queues

Sem1 16/17 : 22 Nov

This workshop looked at the behaviour seen in birds flocking and insects swarming. The basis for understanding the algorithms underpinning these behaviours is Craig Reynolds' seminal paper from 1987 "Flocks, Herds and Schools: A distributed behaviour model". The same algorithms can be used to model human behaviours such as crowds, queuing and fight/battle scenes.

The workshop included an introduction/refresher to browser-based scripting using JavaScript and made use of the p5.js framework to model the behaviours - p5.js is a re-imagining of the Processing language that enables simple coding of visual phenomena and motion to the web browser.

There were thirteen participants for this workshop - 1 member of staff, 11 students from BA Games Design & Art, 1 student from BA Graphic Arts.

The workshop was facilitated by Andy Lapham.

Code from the workshop is available here on GitHub.

Header image: from Reynold's 1987 paper.

Lunches

"Sort of like an inverse Weight Watchers with theory - we meet regularly to chew over texts relating to the fields of communications, computing, media and technology."
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If you are interested in media, design, technology, humans or cyborgs this is a reading group that meets to discuss key thinkers, writers and makers... We sometimes eat food at the same time.

Anybody is welcome, ideally texts should be shortish, so chapters rather than books, journal articles better, or other types of content welcome. Currently running on Wednesday lunchtimes, seminars take place in the WSAiLab space T1005, ground floor South Building and last 1 hour.

The iLab Lunches are run by James Branch. See the iLab Lunches blog for full details. Image and text on this page by James Branch.

Semester 1 AY16/17 Readings

Gaver, W., et al. 2008. Threshold Devices: Looking Out From The Home. In: CHI 2008 Proceedings – Domesticity and Design. Florence, Italy, 5-10 April 2008. New York: ACM. [online] Available from this link . [Accessed 28 November 2016].

De Landa, M., 1991. Policing the Spectrum. In: N.Spiller, ed. 2002. Cyber Reader. London: Phaidon Press [online] Available from this link <. [Accessed 20 November 2016].

Jordan, T., 2016. A genealogy of hacking, Convergence, 45:5, 424-430 [online] Available from this link . [Accessed 03 November 2016].

Latour, B., (1992). Where are the missing masses, sociology of a few mundane artifacts. In: W. Bijker., and J. Law., ed. 1992. Shaping Technology/Building Society. Studies in Sociotechnical Change. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press. pp. 225-259.

Wajcman, J., 2000. Reflections on Gender and Technology Studies: In What State is the Art? Social Studies of Science, Vol. 30, No. 3. (Jun., 2000), pp. 447-464 [online] Available from this link . [Accessed 29 July 2016].

Hertz, G. & Parikka, J., 2012. Zombie Media: Circuit Bending Media Archaeology into an Art Method, Leonardo, 45:5, 424-430 [online] Available from this link . [Accessed 10 October 2016].

Ratto, M., 2011. Critical Making: Conceptual and Material Studies in Technology and Social Life, The Information Society: An International Journal, 27:4, 252-260 [online] Available from this link . [Accessed 29 July 2016].

Ideas

Vehicles

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"Experiments in synthetic psychology"

link imageIn his 1984 book, Vehicles, Valentino Braitenberg proposes a number of thought experiments whereby ”vehicles, a series of hypothetical, self-operating machines that exhibit increasingly intricate if not always successful or civilised behaviour.” A leading brain researcher, Braitenberg uses his vehicles to gain insight into how the brain may have evolved.

The image on this page is an attempt to create Braitenberg’s simplest vehicle - one with a single sensor that governs its speed according to its environment. Click it to try it. In this example we can imagine the vehicle moving over a floor of tiles with varying frictional qualities, tiles coloured towards white exhibit positive friction i.e. they slow the vehicle down and tiles coloured towards black exhibit negative friction causing the vehicle to speed up. One can also imagine the vehicle having an affinity with light, in that it lingers in bright spaces and moves quickly through dark ones. This a thought experiment made real in software - in this case, JavaScript in a browser - it would be good to try to build a physical model of this and other, more complex multi-sensor examples of Braitenbergs vehicles.