Spin Turntable Prototyping


We are always interested in thinking about new ways of capturing the products and processes that people go through while tinkering in our workshop. At Maker Faire this May we met up with Tiffany Tseng, a student in the lifelong kindergarten program at MIT media lab, who is developing a turntable system for people to document their creations called Spin. Since she was in town for the FabLearn conference, we arranged for us to spend a few days together testing out the turntable.


Spin works by connecting to the audio jack of a iphone and coodinating taking photos with rotating the platform to create a 360 degree GIF of the project. We thought that scribbling machines would be a good activity to try for this experiment, so we spent monday together in the learning studio thinking about ways to arrange the equipment and how to capture the drawing as well as the art bot. Untitled

We've also been interested in capturing audio stories from people about the things that they make with us in the workshop, so we set up a microphone station next to the turntable to give people the chance to also tell us about their machine.


On Turesday, we prepped the workshop as normal, but as people began to work, we introduced them to Tiffany and explained that they would have the chance to photograph their machine if they wanted. Especially for an activity like scribbling machines where visitors can't take home what they make, I think it's compelling for people to have a way to record their projects. DSC_4956

It was also really nice that as people photographed their scribbling machine, the app automatically uploaded them onto the spin website, creating a collage of different creations on the monitor next to the workshop entrance. This created a basic introduction to the activity and different possibilities for those observing the workshop space from the outside.


We pre-cut pieces of paper for visitors to draw on with their machine, and then used that as the background for the portrait. Most participants in the workshop photographed what they built, but we only got a couple of people to tell the story of their machine. spin_805

This is an example of what one of the final collection of photos looks like with the spin app. I think it gives a good sense of the machine, as well as the art that it creates.


We kept the spin equipment, so we will be able to continue to experiment with these ideas. A few things that we would like to explore include what prompts encourage people to share their process of building in the workshop and how to use this tool to record the iterations or drafts that people go through when building without taking them out of the experience. It will be fun to continue to experiment with this method of documentation in the tinkering studio.

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