Saturday, May 17, 2014

Art & Engineering

Over the past ten years I have taught many variations of this Art & Engineering class, in various locations. It has always been inspiring for me to teach, and this class is one of my favorites due to the interdisciplinary nature of the students and the wide range of possibilities that result in finished projects at the end of the semester. This semester the students were given the specific task of making a sculpture that somehow visualized air quality and conveyed that clearly to the general public. The image here shows their tree sculpture made out of electrical conduit. Each of the leaves has an RGB led inside which changes color from green to red based on air quality with red being poor air quality. There are two sensor modules reading carbon monoxide, ozone, and sulfur dioxide. Each module is controlled with an Arduino Yun which allows the sensors to be placed in different locations. The Yuns send data over wifi to Google Docs and the Yun at the tree pulls down data and determines the relative led color for the tree. There is also an interactive survey on a small monitor run by Raspberry Pi. The survey asks you questions about your energy use and displays a result based on how your habits effect air quality.
Video to come.....

Congratulations to an awesome team: Felipe De Alcantara, Ali Omidfar, Nick Schmidt, Corey Mattes, Chrissy Cooper, Alex Young, and Jonathan Waller 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Evening at the Ecopolis: Jeff Biggers

I had the great fortune to meet Jeff Biggers recently, and was even more elated after experiencing Evening at the Ecopolis, a poetic telling of Biggers' vision of the future and how Iowa City became a model for Regenerative Cities. The piece was mainly a monologue by Biggers in four acts with the Awful Purdies playing music in between acts. It was really powerful and a great reminder of how important all of us are as active agents in determining the future of our world. There is a full write up at Little Village Magazine.

Thanks Jeff!