McMains Children’s Developmental Center studio - 10 students, 5 projects
Flood/Safer Sports studio – 12 students, 9 sports and 6 flood
Tactile Objects studio - 8 students, 4 projects
New Frequencies studio - 5 students, 3 projects
Middle School BattleBots - 12 students, 5 projects
The first year NuVu Design Studio tally is impressive. Students have worked on innovative solutions to reduce the risk of injury associated with fishing, running and golfing. They have developed objects, such as portable toy storage and exercise equipment, to assist those displaced by a natural disaster. They have also created a way for students with limited mobility to throw a ball, sail a boat and participate in daily activities. Along the way, the journey has introduced them to field experts and local professionals. Through trial and error they have had to refine and reimagine original concepts. They have made mistakes and learned from them and even celebrated when the concept worked as planned. They’ve learned to collaborate and cooperate in order to make their dreams a reality. After an exciting fall semester, the momentum continued on into the spring with the recent spring studio showcase.
Spring: A Sensory Experience
Can you imagine generating sound with color, or even fish? This semester’s Design Studio students did just that and more. Students focused the latter portion of the school year on projects involving tactile objects and new frequencies. Like the fall showcase, the projects were innovative and the students were engaged.
“This was different from any other class I’ve taken,” said Davis Singletary. Singletary and Stephen Barker created Sound Pipes, a device that uses color to produce a range of sounds commonly found in nature. “This project was designed to engage the users’ imagination through the use of sound,” wrote Barker in his project brief. Aimed at elementary school children, Sound Pipes allows the user to drop balls of varying color into a PVC pipe outfitted with a color sensor to detect the color. Once detected, an Arduino board and sound software are used to assign the color a corresponding sound inspired by nature. The finished product is easy to use and fun, making it a perfect concept for little hands.
From the beginning, Bailey McLaughlin knew he wanted to incorporate a live animal into his project. That creature ultimately ended up being a fish. Using laser sensors, an Arduino board and sound software, McLaughlin’s Fish Frequencies created a method for making music based on the movement of fish. The prototype, which generates interesting notes when the fish activate the laser, was well received by his classmates, Design Studio coaches and teachers.
The team of Cruz Crawford and Luke Foster produced sound by going big. The two used surgical tubing stretched between outdoor columns to create a large-scale guitar. “This project was built for anyone to enjoy, regardless of whether you are a musician or not. If you like music and like to generate sound by the touch of your fingers put your mind to it and who knows what you can make,” wrote Foster in the project’s brief. The project, labeled the King of Strings, was successful in creating chord sounds and in delighting the Lower School students who tested it.
Another Design Studio team took on gravity for their spring project. Griffin Dynes and Hootie Freeman wanted to create an experience that would allow users to feel the pull of the force on different planets. Thus, the Gravity Table was born. The project involved numerous iterations. “Cultivating ideas for this project resulted in many different ideas, including a vest to simulate weight change on other planets. The idea eventually morphed into a table which held everyday objects such as, a water-bottle, a pencil and a hammer. One after another, cardboard models were broken and re-designed,” wrote Freeman in the project brief. After much experimentation, the team created a decorative, laser-cut box that demonstrates the weight of a hammer on various planets. The team’s stated goal, which was “to make learning about or educating others on gravity a more hands-on experience” was certainly accomplished.
NuVu Design Studio students have achieved so much in only one school year. Providing such a learning experience right here on campus is a fitting complement to the learning that occurs within the traditional classroom. It is a great example of the innovative and thoughtful opportunities that are purposefully made available to Episcopal students every day.
We can’t wait to see what the 2018/2019 Design Studio students create!