Thursday, July 3, 2014

Electric Toothbrush Exploration

We explored the possibilities of electric toothbrushes. These are objects that many of the children use daily, however many never explore them further. We asked what makes them shake, and why. We asked them to take the toothbrush apart and find out what was inside. This is a challenge at first, however once one of the students gets the motor out they help their colleagues.
Once they removed the components we had alligator clips laying on the table so that they could explore and play with the motors.
One of the challenges the children face is keeping the battery and motor connected. When they finally get the components connected in a way that works consistently there is still the challenge of attaching it to their project. To ease this transition and lower the barrier a little we designed a triangular template with a cut out that allowed the battery and motor to be press-fit into the template. We used our left over cardboard pizza boxes as the material and our Epilog laser cutter to print them out. Once the children put together the template, the design was open enough to allow for the attachment of the motors to many different types of creations. We brought out an assortment of markers, covered the tables with butcher paper, and explored scribbling machines.

After playing and tinkering with the motors, and the motion they create many ended up in the designs that the children made to extend their play. We had dancing dolls, a ninja turtle, and a representation of the life cycle of a butterfly complete with fluttering butterfly wings.

Click below to see some videos of additional designs.

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