Sky Parade 2.0

Sky Parade 2.0

by abracad_anna | updated June 03, 2016

Internship at the MIT Media Lab



One of the tasks I have been working on is updating the gondola for Sky Parade 2.0. With Sky Parade 1.0, the only available function was a straightforward motor going in one direction. For Sky Parade 2.0, we'll be using the Wedo 2.0. That way, we have access to not just a motor that can run in only one direction, but also different sensors (tilt and distance). Now, we can incorporate more Scratch into the activity. I've been refamiliarizing myself with Scratch, and doing some experiential learning on how to use the Wedo. 

Here is a video of one run of a gondola with the WeDo 2.0 on it and a tilt sensor. I was taking the video with one hand while running Scratch left handed on my laptop and trying to keep a close eye on the gondola. The functions it shows are a simple forward run, a turn on a key press, and a stop when the space bar is pressed. It's not visible in this video, but there is also a script to turn the light on the SmartHub red when the gondola tilts. The balance of the gondola is a bit off, but I'll fix it soon enough. I also am thinking about how to set a gondola up where the SmartHub can be put in different places on the gondola for even more configurations. We really want the kids to let their imaginations run wild, but the gondola also can't fall off the string. 

Right now, I'm thinking about how to make the gondola most versatile while also working. Kids may want to put the SmartHub on different parts of the gondola, so we might end up making a few different configurations so that the gondola will still balance if the SmartHub is on the front (as it is in the video) versus on the back or side.

May 4, 2016 at 12:40 PM
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The first three images show the basic layout of the gondola template. This would be something similar to what is given out at the day of Sky Parade. 

Once I had a blank template that worked well, I started loading the gondola with Lego figures. The fourth image shows a few figures displayed. This model was balanced fairly well, and it ran perfectly. 

The next three images show the gondola loaded with as extreme a setup as I could fit. I wanted to create the greatest possible amount of imbalance so I could see how the gondola would run. The gondola ran well for about ten minutes. Of course, while I was showing it off to Carmelo, it fell apart. The next image shows the aftermath. Nothing important broke, it was just rather embarrassing. However, I am still proud that the gondola held up for that long-I really did have a lot of Legos on there. 

The last two images show the final design of the gondola. I decided that once the template of a gondola is done, I will mark it by having a small red block to show the back edge of the hub. This is not shown in the images, but I think it will help to put the hub back in the right place so the gondola is balanced. 

May 5, 2016 at 10:17 PM
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Very cool – we should create a Spin animation of your new template!
7 months ago

For Scratch Day, we will probably be using tripods to support the string and the gondola. However, the weight of the gondola is too great for the tripod, so the tripod tips over. We will probably get sandbags to counterbalance the gondola and to keep everything in place.

May 11, 2016 at 10:44 AM
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On Scratch Day, these images show what the tripod setup looked like. We had four tripods. Two of the tripods were weighted down with sandbags, which weighed about 8 pounds. The other two tripods were weighed down with five pound bags of rocks, one of which had an additional rock. About five pounds of weight should be good for securing the tripod.

Note: you may not be able to see the full image in the standard viewing mode. I suggest going into the blog mode.

May 18, 2016 at 11:09 AM
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This is a sample of the gondola template that we ended up using for Scratch Day. All the templates were of this form. It is pretty similar to the gondola in Template 1. However, there are more blocks on the top in order to reinforce the connection with the motor. Additionally, the vertical lego piece is moved up. 

I also attached a diagram of the gondola, which will be helpful in the future, when people have to build more gondolas. 

May 18, 2016 at 11:15 AM
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This is what the area looked like. The foreground of the first image shows kids working on programming their gondolas. The building area is not visible in the first image. The second and third images show the building area. It was very crowded. I would recommend spreading the Lego bricks out on the flying table. In addition to lowering the space needed, the area also seems more inviting (see the last image).

May 19, 2016 at 3:45 PM
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The first two images show the placemats we used on Scratch day. However,  because the computers covered most of the table, the placemats weren't used. Kids seemed to draw mainly from their imaginations rather than the ideas of Space or Clouds that we presented. In the next workshop, I don't think that I will use placemats-it wasn't super helpful, and was mostly a hassle.

May 19, 2016 at 3:58 PM
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This was the main handout we used. It was okay, but I think we could split it up. I am going to make programming cards (like the Scratch cards, but specific to the Wedo) with some simple actions.

May 19, 2016 at 4:05 PM
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On the day of Sky Parade, we couldn't get Spin to work. Tiffany told us that the problem was that the barrel at the base of the jack of the audio cable came loose. It needs to look like it does on the right, rather than looking like the left part of the image.

May 19, 2016 at 4:08 PM
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Sad about this ;(
7 months ago

Here is a second version of the WeDo handout. It gives details on some very basic programming.

June 3, 2016 at 1:36 PM
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I don't have any good images from the workshop I did at my high school to show the layout. We had people working at tables with a separate table of building materials. We had two string setups-one as a sort of practice, and one as an area for the show and tell we had at the end of the workshop.

June 3, 2016 at 1:43 PM
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Here is an image of one of the vises we used at the workshop at my high school. 

These worked really well! However, if you can't get them to clamp firmly on something (e.g., if you have a folding table that has a lip around the edge), it would probably be better to use the tripods and sandbags.

June 3, 2016 at 1:53 PM
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Here is another version of the handout with some instructions for basic scripts.

June 3, 2016 at 1:58 PM
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