PSYC3054: Science and Creativity in the Age of the Maker
We truly live in the age of the maker. It is now easier and cheaper than ever to interweave electronics, motors, 3D printed parts, sensors, fabrics, and chips. Irrespective of whether your goal is to entertain, inform, or discover, anybody can now create devices for data collection, entertainment, art, or product prototyping. In spite of this, getting started still represents somewhat of a hurdle — browsing websites of part vendors, you face a wall of unknown and complex-sounding terms. However, in reality, you need to know only a few concepts and basic principles to start experimenting. This course will teach you essential skills in electronics, microcontroller programming, and 3D printing. People from various backgrounds increasingly exploit these tools for scientific, creative, or artistic projects. The goal of this course is for you, whatever your interest, to acquire skills, insights, and experiences that expand your personal area of expertise. In doing so, this course will empower you to build, test, and evaluate prototypes of designs in engineering, art, and science. You will walk away from this course confident in the fact that you too can build! See illustration 1 for examples of both scientific and artistic applications. Leveraging the unique mixture of skills, backgrounds, and interests of your fellow students, you will dream up and build unique creations. To spark inspiration, interdisciplinary guest speakers will talk about how they use their making skills to do better science, and make the world a better, more beautiful place. Throughout the course, we will adopt a practical approach focusing on what you need to know to get started and where can you find help and tools to make life easier. Once we have mastered a basic understanding, we will complete several projects.