Imaginarium Challenge – 2015

Imaginarium Challenge LOGO rev

YouTube video by Samuel Marsden School

Stuff.co.nz article

Over the last two days, my friends and I helped mentor students for the Imaginarium Challenge at Samuel Marsden Collegiate. The event was designed to challenge students creative and problem-solving skills in music composition, programming, mechanical and digital systems and art installation. All using the Arduino Uno microcontroller and Mozzi synthesizer libraries!

Day 1 saw the students experimenting with the Arduino Uno, most for the very first time. Using potentiometers, LDRs, button inputs and LEDs, the students were able to run some basic examples consisting of a melody looper, an echo theramin and a drum machine. Most of this day was spent troubleshooting students code changes and explaining how the IDE, certain functions and operators worked. At the end of the day, the students had a small amount of time to plan out what they would make with their new engineering skills.

Day 2 was all go! First up was a demo of a small Tesla Coil playing Somebody that I used to know to help illustrate to the students that there are many other ways of playing sound other than just through a speaker.
After that, they were let loose into their goodie bags of components and random items to build.. something. There was no outlined requirement, other than to be creative. Leaving the kids to create whatever they could imagine.

Throughout the days, students asked for help around writing variables, for loops, if statements, creating arrays for containing musical notes and how to add 4 more servos to their setup which lead to talking about breadboards and how they could eventually unplug their designs from their laptops altogether.

The students picked it up so quickly and the results consisted of some wonderful, crafty, hacked objects that spun, glowed, chimed and buzzed their way throughout the space.

I am truly inspired by these kids just having a go at something new and creating something awesome!

Robot drummer – 3 servos (one of each arm and a leg) and a backing drum track
UFO – flashing LEDs and warped sounds that change speeds using a potentiometer
Two servo bottle-brush bots, controlled using pots, fighting to the death in a make-shift mortal kombat arena
Spinning to the sound of the national anthem
Creating new sounds and blending colours from sound waves!
Using a servo to pick a jingle
Rotating star that plays Twinkle-twinkle, using a potentiometer to set the pace and a LDR to toggle the unit on/off
Rotating star that plays Twinkle-twinkle, using a potentiometer to set the pace and a LDR to toggle the unit on/off
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