Beyond Curriculum


3 more places left on Fashion Tech

We are really gratified about how many people are interested in Fashion Tech.  I would love to hear from designers and teachers who fancy collaborating on a Fashion Tech Show in the Autumn

Image result for led clothing

A step wise approach to mechanics teaching from age 7

A step wise approach to mechanics teaching from age 7

I have been pondering how to build a stepwise approach to teaching mechanics.  All the  really cool machines I like have a mix of electronics and mechanics.   So if you going to be  a product designer you have to know mechanics.

Here is my first suggestion:

Age 7 – 10 Levers and pulleys Cardboard Engineering


Image result for cardboard hands

Age 10 -12 Gears Lego Technics Gear Systems

Image result for lego gears

Laser Cut and Assembling of Gears

Image result for laser cut wood gears

Push bikes

Image result for bike gears

Age 13 – 14 Hydraulics Cardboard engineering and syringes


Image result for Fischertechnik

Leg0 Technic Pneumatics


Cardboard is the new Rock and Roll

Cardboard is the New Rock and Roll

Should all new designers start with cardboard.  Here are a few clips of my favourites:

We love Ohbot – MADE IN STROUD

We love Ohbot – MADE IN STROUD

We love this robot so much it is going to be used as a major part of level 1 and 2 course.  Some of the suggested projects are attached.

Project  Title Level Description Additional Requirements
RoboActor 1 Program the robot to act out a famous scene from your favourite film.  Even better if two robots could be used. None
RoboRap 1 To rap out your favourite music.  To activate led hair or optic fibre hair at same time Optic fibre hair connected to Ohbot and activated from 3 spare ports
RoboReceptionist 1 Use light, touch and distance sensors to activate speech and intonation.


Extension use more sensor

Add sensors to the kit
Roboactor 2 Act not only with facial response but movement of 2 D limb structure with 7 servo motors.


Wire and build an extension kit.  Program so that the acting also reacts to light sound and touch

Need to program I2C and have an extension board for 7 extra servos


Need to create a 2D jointed frame laser cut for the robot

Robospaceman 3 – 4 Send the robot to near space using a weather balloon and record experience.


This would be a replica of the Ohbott project.  It would require a video recording device.  Materials would have to be hardened.  This could be done as a 4 person project.

Weather balloon



Temperature sensor

Video capture device




RoboReactive 3 Connect the Ohbot to the Google AI and text to voice control.  Connect to raspberry pi.  Consider the Ohbot recording and publishing to the web class conversations Raspberry pi acting as webserver
RudeBot 4 Connect to Ohbot to Google’s visual recognition AI and get it to say things about people as they pass by.  Similar to Ohbot project at Manchester Museum but with simpler visual recognition Raspberry pi

Arduino and Scratch Options

Scratch & Arduino Review

While building the explorer phase we thought it was really important to build on students knowledge of scratch.  Perhaps the most interesting approach to this is to integrate the game environment with outside world.  We found the best product for integration with Scratch to be Makeblock:

We reviewed the following products:

Program Advantages Disadvantages Rating
S2aio Gives direct connection to arduino board.

Has enough logic for sensor reading servos and dc motors

Downloadable and uses offline editor

Presently only got IO working.  Analog appears to be more challenging, we are still working on this

S2aio complicated to setup and temperamental

Partly working

s4A Based on Scratch 1.4 and stable

Wider use

Not presently in development

Scratch 1.4 outdated

Scratchx Extensions Development platform for scratch with examples for arduino

Active community

Roughly part of scratch

The sketches are personally developed

No team effort

The browser pluggins are not supported and therefore it is an unstable solution

Makeblock A branch of scratch 2.0.  Fully integrated with their modified Arduino boards.

Clear development process

Large number of supported sensors

Linked to a commercial product

Sensors are connected by rj45 which reduces the i/o

More costly than native Arduino