Making Things Interactive

May 1, 2008


Filed under: Final Writing Assignment,Gaku Sato — ponkotsu @ 11:04 am

  First I’d like to state that overall I think this class was a raging success.  I learned more than I can put into words so my attempts to describe it may be futile but I will continue as it is the assignment.

  I came in knowing I wanted to make things but had no idea what those things would be.  After being given the first assignment I still didn’t know what that would be.  The fact that we could choose basically whatever we wanted to do at first seemed a bit unguided, but it got me thinking about what I would want to make and not just how I would make the thing I was told to make.  So given that I could apply my interests and not just my skills however limited they may be.  And with interest followed motivation, insight, and ultimately determination to actually reach the goal I had set for myself, of punching Godzilla in the face.  The results of this were projects I was personally vested in and not just for a grade or a page in my appalling portfolio.

  This kind of open-endedness and lack of rigid structure allowed, and at times enforced, me to learn through experience.  It was daunting at times because the scope of the projects was so unlimited, but that was good too, although more in retrospect than at the time.  It was a real challenge to be creative and resourceful, to be able to use anything at our disposal to make our ideas.  Not restricted to kits or anything, to me it was “here’s the world; put something in it using anything from it.”

  And before implementation and prototyping, concept generation was the other sub-boss in this wonderful dungeon.  For every single project I fought that beast and died many times.   If I were given a more specific direction in terms of the design or functionality of the project, I assume this may not have been the case as much or as often, but I don’t think I would have really gained anything from that.  Because I kept running into brick walls I feel like I got better not at running into brick walls but at seeing the path to avoid them, which I think is critical in an iterative design process.  I propose that I got better at it since I’m most happy with my final project.

  In terms of the class structure and material itself, I think it was great: the chosen hardware, the tutorials in the beginning, the pacing and scale of the projects, the slope of increasing complexity, the use of state diagrams, all the reference material, etc.  With the emphasis on implementation, it was at times frustrating to not really know how to make things interactive, but I think now it’s good that I took the time scratching my head to be able to come up with that stuff on my own, unlike programming or wiring that I can just look up.  Whining about that’s like asking my soccer coach not to yell at me because it makes me feel bad, not that I play soccer but if I did I think the coach would yell at me.  Anyways the point is education isn’t easy.  Stuff isn’t easy to learn.

  So I learned a lot doing what I wanted.  And if that isn’t a reason to be in school, what is?  The awesome meal plan?  Being broke or the lack of sleep?  No.  No and no.  For me it’s classes like this.


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