Nothing to Something

Recorded Presentation

David Wang
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Tony Whelan
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Projecting Change in Action

Lia Darling
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Projecting Change

Lia Darling and Natalie Hatton
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Natalie's brief:

This project sheds light on the dangers of pollution and plastic. 

This project grabs the attention of various people due to its interactivity, and strong message. This exhibit teaches those who see it about the effects trash and plastic have in the ocean. There is on average 5.25 trillion pieces of trash in our oceans, killing up to 100,00 marine animals annually. The hope is that this project will get the viewers to understand the effects of their actions and help them to see just how important recycling is.

The project is essentially an interactive scale. Made with a support beam that's able to rock back and forth, there's a flashlight attached to one side of the support beam and a trash bin attached to the other side. Underneath that, is a net, which is mostly blacked out by recycled materials. The negative space is in the shape of a turtle. When the flashlight shines through the turtle, the shadow is reflected onto the ground. The more trash that is put into the trash bin weighs it down, making the flashlight rise up. When the flashlight rises up the shadow gets bigger, representing more turtles dying annually, and when there is less trash in the bin, the shadow gets smaller representing fewer turtles dying annually. 

Lia's Brief:

Projecting Change: an interactive art sculpture that raises awareness of how much trash ends up in the ocean and how it affects marine animals, with the aim of encouraging people to reduce, reuse and recycle more. 

The interactive and educational art installation would grab peoples attention and teach them that when they put more trash in the garbage, it will end up in the ocean and will eventually kill many sea animals, like sea turtles. Projecting Change consists of a balance scale. On one side is a light, and on the other is a trash can. Under the light, there will be a net filled with trash, except in the middle of the net, where there will be no trash in a shape of a turtle. When trash is put in the trash can it will weigh down the right side of the scale, causing the light, on the left side, to rise and create a smaller turtle on the ground, implying a decrease in the turtle population. When weight is taken away, the light lowers, and the turtle expands.

Every year millions of tons of trash, including 5.25 trillion pieces of non-biodegradable plastic, are dumped into the ocean. This plastic either suffocates marine wildlife or kills them when they ingest it. The user of Projecting Change realizes that they should be recycling more and reducing the amount of trash they throw away. This installation is designed for a well-populated public place; the more people who see and interact with it, the greater its impact will be. The hope is that its innovative design will surprise people so that they will post pictures on social media or tell friends and spread the word. 

Final Presentation - David + Ian

David Rogers and Ian Emery
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Did you know the Great Pacific Garbage is a pile of floating trash that is twice the size of Texas?  The purpose of the project is to create a low-cost autonomous machine that is able to collect sea trash. The project was inspired by the discovery of a spinning vortex that was able to capture trash that is not directly next to the machine. This tool brings the trash to it instead of it going the trash. The founders, Ian Emery and David Rogers saw the need to help the growing problem of sea trash that harms animals, humans and plants and their environments. Over 230 million tons of trash being dumped into the ocean every year.  The project is very important today and will only continue to be helpful in the future to help secure a healthy environment. This project lead us to ask our selves many important questions like "is the current rate we dump trash into our waterways sustainable and how can we help aid in the cleanup prosses?". The project is a promising tool for local and federal governments and environmental organizations concerned with restoring ocean health. the project uses a vortex that spins the water in such a way that collects trash from the water. we created an auger that makes a strong vortex and made a net for easy collection of the trash. The prototype utilizes a small lightweight RC airplane motor that is able to spin very fast without adding unnecessary weight. The Trash Vortex  2000 is able to float on four floats that are on arms connecting to the main body of the vortex. the vortex is able to move freely or be anchored to the bottom in a known trash-filled area. The trash vortex has a built-in net for easy collection of the trash by the user. Besides the need for the collection of the trash the trash vortex is fully autonomous. The trash vortex is the first line of defense when it comes to keeping our oceans clean.


Kevin Brown and Ava Rizika
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Kevin's Brief:

The Penguin Glider is a penguin ride-on toy that is foot powered and so that toddlers can ride around outside while helping clean up trash off the streets. 

The Penguin Glider was made to help teach people about the impact of their actions on penguin populations, which are declining and in some cases endangered. Driving cars contributes to air pollution responsible for climate change which melts their iceberg habitats. It is also covered in fishing net because they are also dying from getting caught in them. When plastic litter makes its way to the ocean, penguins can choke on it. The Penguin Glider aims to establish environmentally-friendly habits in children by teaching them not to litter and to use alternative methods of transportation. The Penguin Glider also has a beak that is controlled by the child driving it, the beak can reach out and grab litter and can drop it in a basket so they can properly dispose of the litter later. the use of skateboard trucks and wheels allow the penguin to glide along the ground and makes for easy turning by leaning side to side. 

Ava's Brief:

The Penguin Glider is a rideable penguin that toddlers sit on and use their feet to push themselves forwards. It also includes a trash arm claw that will pick up trash and dispose of it inside the penguin.

Ten out of the 18 species of penguins in the world are now endangered because of either fishing nets, or global warming. Penguin Glider aims to spread awareness to toddlers about penguins who are suffering from either losing their habitats to global warming, dying from digesting garbage, or getting caught in fishing nets.The Penguin Glider is unique because it provides an environmentally-protective message and reinforces environmentally-friendly habits on several levels. The beak-like trash grabber that extends from the penguin’s mouth helps the toddlers have a hands-on, fun learning experience from this toy. As they ride along, the children will learn to pick up trash when they see it by having a trash grabber that will come out of the penguin's mouth and act as a beak. This helps them learn to pick up trash when they see it because it is a fun and engaging way to do it, and it will hopefully enforce habits of picking up trash. A hollow wooden frame gives the penguin its shape and holds a basket for the garbage that is picked up with the trash-grabber claw. The Claw extends at a slant from where the toddler sits to emerge through the beak. This allows the toddler sitting on the penguin to have control over the claw, so as they push it forwards to make it go out and collect the trash, and pull it back inside the penguin to drop the garbage that they just collected into the basket. On top of the pinchers on the claw, is a 3D-printed covering that screws into the pincers to make the claw look like the penguin's beak. Because it is a ride-on toy, with an appealing shape and design, the children will also learn about other fun ways to get around that does not release gases that contribute to global warming. The shape and look of the penguin will draw the toddler in to want to ride out, and they will see how using other alternatives than driving can be just as, or even more fun than driving. The final thing that the toddlers will learn is how our oceans are filled with drifting fishing nets that can cause something as beautiful, and adorable as a penguin to become all tangled up in a fishing net making it less beautiful. They learn this from the Penguin Glider because the design itself, which constructs a penguin out of fishing net, alludes to the fact that drifting fishing nets frequently trap penguins and have endangered their populations. Although the penguin is made from wood, A layer of fishing net on top of the wooden frame creates the illusion that the penguin is made from fishing net.

Final Post - Requirements for the Post

Andrew Todd Marcus
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The Final Post:

This post showcases your final design through two parts:

  1. An Abstract that shows the final project a concise series of images and diagrams. Its purpose is to allow a viewer or visitor to understand the project in its entirety in a few brief minutes. It is mainly concerned with the What of your project but must contain an overview of the Why and your entire narrative arc. This part of your post will be used in your 2-3 minute NuVu community presentation and will likely be the portion reporters, colleges, and family will see first. 
  2. The Process which tells the comprehensive story of how your idea was born, developed, and manifested. The arc of the story should encompass the, How of your project in a compelling narrative. It showcases your design process including your brainstorming, each of your iterations, and your final prototype. It allows the viewer to delve deeply into your process. This post will be used in your review presentation at the end of the session. 

The title of this post must be The name of your project. 


The Final post has 15-20 slides. Every slide MUST have a title. Captions are a good idea as well.

I this section you are showing the main concept and design of the project. The abstract is an overview meant to excite the viewer. You should not plan to describe the entire project in this section.

1. TITLE WITH TAGLINE (1 Slide): This slides shows a crisp, clear final image and the title of your project. with a pithy blurb describing the project. The image, name, and tagline should draw a viewer in. 


  • The Fruit - A line following, light tracking robot
  • Segmented Vehicle - A vehicle that conforms to the landscape
  • Cacoon - Wearable sculpture exploring the concept of transformation and death

2. CONTEXT IMAGE: (1 slide) This is a single image that shows a clear precedent or evocative image. This image helps set up the why in a compelling way, sets the stage for your narrative, and will help frame the entire presentation. The caption of this slide (set with the Edit Captions button when editing your post) should be the text of the Thesis Statement/Problem & Solution. You will read these while presenting this slide. No Text on the slide.

3. THESIS STATEMENT / PROBLEM & SOLUTION SLIDE (1 Slide) : This is a TEXT ONLY slide for visitors to your portfolio. In consultation with your coach you will either create a Thesis Statement or state the Problem/Solution. You will skip past this slide in the presentation as you will have read the content in the Context Image.

Problem/Solution: This works best for a project with a clear problem that leads to a describable physical solution.

This slide answers the questions:

  • What is the problem I am trying to Solve? This is likely different for each project in a studio. Be clear and use the problem to set up the narrative for your presentation.
    • Example: The Problem: Design a vehicle for a mountainous world with difficult terrain to traverse.
  • How did I solve it?. This is your 1 sentence project description with an optional additional 1-2 sentences. 
    • Example: The Solution: A segmented vehicle with a universal joint system that handles mountainous terrain by conforming to the landscape.

Thesis: Thesis statements are appropriate for a conceptual project with a nuanced or complex generative narrative. Your thesis states the Why and How clearly and succinctly in 1-3 sentences.

  • Examples:
    • The Cocoon:  A wearable sculpture that explores the concept of transformations and death. The Cocoon explores the spiritual journey beyond the human experience; what it means to be human, how wonder effects us, and the concept of what happens after death.
    • Body Accordion: A musical prosthetic that translates the wearer’s body movements into a dynamic multimedia performance. The Body Accordion converts flex sensor input to sound through Arduino, MaxMSP, and Ableton Live. 
    • Seed to Soup Animation: A whimsical animation about the slow food movement. Seed to Soup showcases a holistic method of cooking. From garden, to kitchen, to dinner table.
    • Antlers: A wearable sculpture inspired by antlers found in the deer and antelope family. "Antlers" explores the comparison between armor and attraction. 

4. FUNCTIONAL DIAGRAM: A diagram showing some aspect of the functionality. These can include:

  • How one uses or interacts with the project
  • The overall behavior of the project over time
  • For a complex interactive project, this can be a clear diagram of the software behavior\

5. FINAL IMAGE: (3 slides) The last slides should have an image of the final project. These images should be taken in the photo booth, cropped, and adjusted for contrast, brightness, etc. You can also use an image In-Use. Consider using a GIF to show how the project works. You will NOT describe the whole project here, simply show the completed project before going onto the Process. 


6. PRECEDENT SLIDES (2 slides minimum, 3 slides maximum):  Precedents are any projects that inspired you creatively or gave you technical guidance. No Text.

  • 1 Slide - Conceptual Precedent
  • 1 Slide - Technical Precedent
  • 1 Slide - Additional Precedent

7. INITIAL SKETCHES/CONCEPT DIAGRAM (1 slide minimum, 2 slides maximum): These slides show your initial, generative ideas in sketch form. You can think of this as a sketch of the big idea, it is the chief organizing thought or decision behind the design presented in the form of a basic sketch or diagram. If you do not have a clear concept sketch it is fine to make one after the fact. These should clean, clear drawings. No Text.

8. ITERATIONS: (3 slides minimum, 5 slides maximum): The next part of the process post are the iterations you documented in your daily posts. Explain your design decisions and how your project changed at each step.

  • For build studios, choose 3-5 representative iterations of your project with 1 slides per iteration. The images should show clear, major design changes. 
  • For digital or graphics studios, have a slide for each important design decision. Generally it is best to avoid screen shots. These could include:
    • A storyboard slide
    • A slide with multiple images showing graphical character development.
    • Stylistic explorations

9. DIAGRAMS: (1 slides minimum) Diagrams of the final project.

Build studios will need at least 1-2 additional diagrams:

  • Construction Diagram:  A diagram offering insight on how the project is put together
    • Ideally, this will be an exploded axonometric
    • At minimum this can be a labeled disassembled photo  
  • Electronics Diagram: A circuit schematic showing project inputs, outputs, and architecture.

Digital studios should have a diagram of the storyboard and flow of the project.

10. ADDITIONAL FINAL IMAGES: (3 slides minimum, 5 slides maximum) Additional final images showing the culmination of your process. You should include:

  • 2-3 Images in the Booth. Make sure they are cropped, adjusted, and look great.
  • 1-2 Images in Use


The Brief Part 2 - Full Brief

Andrew Todd Marcus

The Brief is due Friday Morning by 9:00AM.

Remember, all documents related to the brief are found HERE. These include a note from the writing coach and the Composition Reminder Sheet.

Now that you have created an document that outlines all of the information you want to relate in the Brief, it is time to weave that information together into a strong narrative that ties together the Why, How and What and Who of your project through clear, cogent writing. Tell the story of how your idea was born, developed, and manifested.

Create 1 post titled “The Brief” in the Writing tab with text that includes the following 2 items, numbered:

  1. A 1-2 sentence project description for your transcript. This will serve as the basis of the Project Description that appears in your transcript. This description should not include the name of the project and should be written in the third person. This was Question 1 in your Outline.
    Night Light Blankie: A child's sensory blanket that provides comfort and privacy in the high stress environment of the hospital using weight, textures, and light. The blanket transforms into a mini light up fort over a child’s head.
    Cocoon: a shroud that explores human spirituality and the concept of life after death through the use of repetitive religious iconography. Composed of over 300 pieces of laser cut balsa wood lined with space tape, the icons are arranged using a mathematical strange attractor.
  1. A 1-2 paragraph brief for your project based on the description below. This will be based off the information you put together in your Outline and should focus on style. The NuVu writing coach will give you feedback and you will have the opportunity to revise this text before the final presentation. The primary purpose of The Brief is to explain, entice, and convince the reader that your project is amazing and important. Imagine your project on display in the Museum of Modern Art. The Brief is hanging on the wall next to your work. In 1-2 paragraphs, a viewer should understand what your project is, why it exists, and how you made it, and who it is for. More importantly, the viewer should be interested and care. You will draw them into your project through a compelling narrative.

    Things to think about:
    • Use the information in your Outline. Do not simply put all of the answers together -- you must weave it together into a clear story.
    • The what is a clear statement of the thesis or problem+solution. Your project description for your transcript (#1 above) can be adapted for this purpose.
    • The why explains how your project changes the world. It is the reason your project exists – what social issue is it engaging, who is your project helping, how does the project change the world, and what important social, intellectual, or technical questions does it raise? The scope of the why can vary widely.
    • The how briefly explains what technical prowess, innovative methods, or cool materials you used in your solution.
    • The who explains who will use your design, why they will use it, and in what context.
    • Think of the reader - it is good to imagine that a college admissions officer AND a potential employer in the field of your design should both be able to understand and be excited by the project based on your writing.

Write in the Third person in an explanatory fashion. Resist using I, WE, OUR, or YOU and focus on describing the work.

Here is an example from Penelope the Pain-O-Monster:

Pediatricians and other doctors find it challenging to collect accurate self reported information from children about their level of pain due to lack of communication skills, fear, anxiety, and discomfort. Traditional 1-10 pain scales do not fully address these issues, often leading to uncomfortable children and inaccurate symptom information. Penelope the Pain-O-Monster is a cute plush toy that uses integrated pressure sensors to allow children to express their source and level of pain through play.

A previous project, The EmoOwl, helped children with autism to express themselves by translating motion into color. Penelope the Pain-O-Monster grew out of the desire to expand children’s health menagerie with a different stuffed animal, one that makes the pain charts patients use to express their pain more interactive and easier for a child to use. Because research has shown that playing with stuffed animals can take children’s mind off pain, an additional “Fun” mode was added to distract from pain and anxiety. The handcrafted stuffed animal uses force sensors in different body parts that light up from blue to red depending on how hard they are pushed to show the child’s pain level. The hope is that, as one of many future healthcare friends, Penelope can help sick children feel safer while providing more useful information to care providers.