Things to Try

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Want inspiration? Start with something that catches your eye.

Getting Ideas

Stumped on what to make? Here are some ideas on getting ideas. -Teresa
stuff you need
  • Paper
  • Something to write and draw with
  • Cricket
Try something you've been wondering about

For example, Keith had heard you could make a phonograph stylus with a cactus needle and a friend suggested to him that he use a Cricket to control the player.

Start with a motion..does it remind you of anything?
Roger used this lego module to make the phones in his art car move back and forth.
Play around with materials

Margaret was given a bunch of figures and ended up making a "little guy sensor."

Think of something you can control using a Cricket

Some motors, legos, a Cricket, and a balloon pump make the music of this toy slide-whistle programmable.

Start with a photograph, a dream, or a story, song, or poem.

This contraption was inspired by the nursery rhyme "Pop Goes the Weasel."

Try making something that responds to something else

This painting machine responds to (and records) changes in temperature.

Kristen wanted to make an automaton that would dance in response to changes in light.

Try thinking of how you can combine totally different things and ideas

Margaret combined a drawing, alligator clips, and a sound recorder to make an interactive, story-telling drawing.

"Halloween Lantern" was inspired by an animation workshop, a lamp with spinning shadow images, and a baby's fascination with pumpkins.

Think of nature...

This sound sculpture was inspired by the sound of shells rolling in the water during a walk along a beach.

An article an engineer wrote about how leaves unfurl as they grow was the inspiration for "Venus Flytrap."

This model of fireflies, made with a Cricket, a temperature sensor, and some lights, was inspired by real fireflies and Crickets on a hot, muggy summer night.

Think of something you would like to happen automatically

Keith wanted a Cricket to advance a roll of film in a pin-hole camera.

Margaret thought of a machine that would make photographic images using cyanotype paper.

Keith's son, Jackson, wanted to keep track of the number of baskets he made in a row.

Try looking at other ideas and inventions

"Musical Gloves" was completely inspired by wandering wands.

"Wobble Painter" was inspired by many other different drawing machines.

Try making a sound or music-maker

This instrument makes sound when a dark spot passes in front of a light sensor.

Ask a friend

Keith gave Margaret the idea to just tape a motor and wheel to a roller to make a paint machine.

Try going to an inspirational place

Here are some places that other people have found to be inspiring:

  • local junk yard or surplus store
  • library
  • the mall
  • garage and yard sales
  • my grandma's attic
What else
Check out these tips from kids at the computer clubhouse on getting and making ideas
See where Bruce came up with his idea for his Ribbon Dancer project
See Aaron's idea to make a machine that wipes his glasses for him

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