At Intel Labs, I worked on the User Experience Research Group's Open Design Team where I focused on researching how Intel could make hardware more approachable to novice makers. Our goal was to deliver a comprehensive research summary of the space surrounding Galileo and a final prototype of our recommended solution. Our team conducted a comprehensive research phase focusing on building a comprehensive ecosystem surrounding Galileo to enable it to become an educational platform for individuals new to the maker space.
The product should allow for more than one user at the same time.
It should multiply the possibilities for making. It should be FUN and spark imagination.
Quick + Rich
It takes away the complexity of building circuits to allow for making. It does not limit the range of creations the maker can build.
The system enables the user to advance his/her/their skill level.
We explored a variety of concepts stemming from modular self-building kits to making smarter breadboards that one could control with an app. Ultimately, we narrowed it down to two main streams of thought. One explored the value gained by reverse engineering something and the second investigated building from scratch in a ‘safe’ environment.
This concept spawned from the idea that many kids will disassemble things in an attempt to understand how they work. To test this hypothesis we built a ‘Bee’ that was constructed of mini-modules that can be taken apart and put back together in a different order to make a new object. For this iteration, the Bee’s eyes light up when you touched its wings.
Out of The Box
Next, we explored the ideas surrounding a toolkit that would make it safe to “blow something up” as you learn about the relationships between sensors and actuators. The goal of this concept was to focus on a more guided experience and to leave the user with a kit of components that they can use to start making their first project.
The goal of the next iteration was to solidify the proper flow to better understand the best method for introducing the relationship between hardware and software. Similar discoveries arose reflecting that we did not fully resolve the issues from version 2. This forced us to radically shift the intended flow of our box by turning the box into a mini toolbox and workstation which immediately exposed all the components.
Next, we wanted to understand how novice makers experience the relationships between sensors and actuators. We thought this could be achieved through the introduction of a working circuit which could be used as Galileo booted up. At that point, the next flap of the box would open revealing a collection of different sensors and actuators to exchange with the working circuit. We discovered that there is a preconceived affordance: when kids saw an open box, they wanted to open all of the flaps at once as opposed to following the sequence of steps that would teach them about sensors and actuators. This instinctive response disrupted the flow of the experience.
The final few versions of the start kit were tested at the YWCA with Kids from 12 years old to 16 years old. During these revisions, we focused on expanding what build by kids after they understood the relationships between sensors and actuators.
Final Product Deck
A few years after finishing this project I saw A similar project come to market from the work of Seeed Studio who has continued to make a series of kits and modular sensors for later development board (Edison and Joule) which followed Galileo.