David Cuartielles & Tony Olsson, ‘The digital artisan’

History and frameworks for the labs

David began the seminar with an introduction to the background of his work at K3 and Malmö University. When David arrived in 2000 he wanted to look at how the Interaction Design program could refresh its focus on prototyping with physical materials. One emphasis became to teach and encourage the Interaction Design students to build the tools if they didn’t already exist. The need for easy to work with circuit boards became one clear need in many of the projects and this experience of working with the students fed into the further development of the Arduino project, which David was directly involved with as one of its founders.

Further lessons learned in these early labs included:

1) the need for setting interesting goals that would act as drivers for pushing students beyond their expectations of what was possible,
2) pushing students to exhibit in public,
3) the need for better documentation processes of the work produced,
4) the need for constraints that enable the students to work more directly with specific concepts,
5) the need for objects to be able to connect to other objects. Building on these needs, the lab was professionalised in such a way that the now standard model of fast prototyping with interesting and critically-oriented design briefs that challenge students to think beyond straightforward functionalities was born. Continue reading