Novice Design of Interactive Products

Despite recent widespread interest in hobbyist electronics and the maker movement, the design of printed circuit boards (PCBs) remains an obscure and often intimidating activity. This project attempts to introduce PCB design and production to new audiences by creating examples, activities, and other resources that provide context and motivation for those practices. I've developed a series of wifi-connected devices and interactive lights that demonstrate the creation of useable products with simple circuits. These examples introduce novices to the space of possibilities and provide them with a starting point for creating their own designs. I teach workshops in which novices design, produce, assemble, and program their own electronic circuits. These workshops provide an entry point to understanding the way that electronic products are made and an opportunity for discussion and reflection about how more people might get involved in their production.

I've taught two workshops exploring this domain:

David A. Mellis, Leah Buechley, Mitchel Resnick, and Bjoern Hartmann, 2016. "Engaging Amateurs in the Design, Fabrication, and Assembly of Electronic Devices." In Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference (DIS ’16). ACM.

The connected devices workshop is also documented in my dissertation (particularly chapter 6):

David A. Mellis, Do-It-Yourself Devices: Personal Fabrication of Custom Electronic Products, PhD Dissertation, MIT, 2015.