Blinky Bugs

Last conducted at previous fieldsite, 2014

Blinky Bugs

 Blinkybugs are simple little electro-mechanical insects that respond to movement, wind, and vibrations by blinking their LED (light-emitting diode) eyes.  Despite their simplicity, they have a strangely lifelike quality.

Skills learned by the girls we studied:

  • Rudimentary programming-how to arrange a circuit
  • Crafting-Designing Blinky Bug bodies and where to place LEDs (normally as eyes)
  • Creativity (Aesthetics)-Deciding what Blinky Bug bodies should look like overall (pipe cleaners; copper wires; LED colors)
  • Crafting-arranging Blinky Bug antennae (copper wires) properly
  • Intermediate programming-steps leading to activating LEDs via copper wires.
  • Two dimensional to three dimensional visual learning-Looking at directions represented on paper and then attempting to emulate steps and finished product.
  • Bricolage-observing research team members building Blinky Bugs and then tinkering with their own Blinky Bugs, playing with circuit functions and aesthetic decisions.
  • Collaboration-girls consulted one another and research team members as they built their Blinky Bugs throughout the process.
  • Computational thinking-emergent.
  • Design agency-emergent.


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