Digital LED Belt, Soldering, MIT Media Lab #cmk16

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My last post ended with Carla Rinaldi’s presentation at #cmk16. Link to it here.

Photo Jul 13, 10 49 53 AM.jpg

Then I got to work on my Digital LED Belt. The link to the Adafruit tutorial is here.

My previous SnapStory overview of the project was in an earlier post.

Here is Part One of a SnapStory of my Wednesday work:

During this clip I solder pins to a board. I also attach the board to the LED strip. Both these steps were done incorrectly. So this clip shows where I make two critical errors which come back to haunt me later.  They are:

  • My soldering job is inadequate to the point where it renders the board completely inoperable. I just didn’t get it right. Plain and simple.  Later, Karen will notice this after we have done some trouble shooting.  It ends up being easily corrected.  But it marks an important juncture in my learning journey.
  • The directionality of the current through the belt is backwards. The coding instructs the board what to send into the belt to make the LED’s do what they are coded to do.  There is a direction through which they must go.  They must enter through the ends marked CI and DI.  Those I’s stand for inputs.  I was able to see the C’s and D’s, but the print was so small that I didn’t notice the I’s.  Likewise, on the other end of the belt, it says CO and DO.  I saw the C’s and D’s but not the O’s.  I simply didn’t realize that I was on the wrong end of the belt.  Fortunately, this is something pretty easily fixed.  Ben helped me realize the error and I fixed it myself.  I write more about this at the end of the week.

Here is a link to Adafruit’s description of the LED belt at which you can see it and read the clear, bold instruction to check the directionality (which I did not read).

Here is Part Two of Wednesday’s work:

What I’m doing in this clip is downloading the code to make the belt light up in the pattern that has been designed for it.  Eventually, my plan is to alter the lighting pattern and combine it with other components such as sensors (accelerometer or light or sound).  During this clip, I first make sure I have the latest Arduino IDE for TeensyDuino.  Then I try to get the code for the belt from Adafruit’s GitHub.  Since the IDE is open source, my operating system (Mac) wants to make sure that I don’t download something unsafe.  So I have to unlock it to allow me to download it.

After briefly reflecting as a large group on our work for the day, we left for MIT Media Lab in the afternoon in a bus.  It was lit:


Here is a replica of MIT Media given by the LEGO foundation in honor of their 30th anniversay of collaboration:


The first thing Mitch Resnick did was show us a video.


This gave us some context about the collaboration and how it evolved.

Mitch Resnick speaking about the type of experimental engagement and creative play that inspired Seymour Papert and LEGO 30 years ago

Teach coding like teaching writing. Allow learner to be a storyteller. Don’t start with spelling & grammar

Smaller number of ScratchX blocks simplifying experimentation of interest area. Lower floor, wider walls.

Wow. MIT accepts a Maker Portfolio as part of Admissions process.

Kinder has not generally been about play and engagement. Mine was quite rigid. We didn’t play. We obeyed.

Lifelong kindergarten great as long as the model isn’t the compliant model that I remember.

We get cupcakes and then Dr. Wolfram. MIT Media Lab.

Dr. Stephen Wolfram speaking to us at MIT Media Lab about Mathematica.

Computation Thinking is definite enough to communicate to computer. Mathematical Thinking allows communication of concepts to people

Showing us WolframAlpha Pro. You can get step by step solution in you want.

For every field today, x, there will be a field evolved from it called “computational X”.
Stephen Wolfram

Computational thinking should be inserted into various subjects in school. Different from programming, which is lower level. Wolfram



It seems appropriate to end this post with the explosion of someone’s head.

mind blown

How do you feel about the Computational Revolution?

Have you noticed the signs of its approach, of its accelleration?

How will schools adjust?



4 thoughts on “Digital LED Belt, Soldering, MIT Media Lab #cmk16

  1. Pingback: That Digital LED Belt, Though #cmk16 #ecg2016 #passthescopeEDU | cynthiaedaydotcom

  2. Pingback: Recovering from lost video creations but determined to press forward #cmk16 #ecg2016 #passthescope2016 | cynthiaedaydotcom

  3. Pingback: (Nearly Complete) Constructing Modern Knowledge 2016 (Text Only) #cmk16 | cynthiaedaydotcom

  4. Pingback: Reflections from CMK 2014 – 2017

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