We were recently asked by a community partner what we would put in a makerspace in a box – something portable that could be transported for location to location to create pop-up maker experiences. For this thought experiment let’s assume that in addition to our makerspace-in-a-box you would have access to basic equipment like computers, a tablet, and office supplies. We’re also focusing on equipment that work well with groups of learners – while things like Raspberry Pi’s are fantastic learning tools, it can be difficult to get large groups of people engaged in using one.
Here are some ideas for building a makerspace-in-a-box:
1. MaKey MaKey ($50-70) – MaKey MaKeys are a classic piece of maker-inspired technology. These simple circuit boards can turn everyday objects into extraordinary things like piano keys, video game controllers, and camera buttons. While MaKey MaKeys require a computer, thus limiting their portability, they can be used for some really creative projects (NB. Off-brand MaKey MaKey’s can be purchased online, but we haven’t been able to test one yet).
2. Microsoft Kinect ($50-150) – These video game controllers can be modified with some open-source software for fun and creative projects. From interactive music, to 3D scanning, to DIY video games, the Kinect offers a lot of maker-inspired bang for your buck.
3. Mini Video Cameras ($7-50) – Inexpensive mini video cameras provide nearly endless creative potential. Put a number of these cameras into the hands of children and youth and see what kinds of videos they produce. Consider hosting a DIY film fest that encourages people to find the most creative uses for these cameras.
4. Snowball Blue ($60-80) – These sturdy microphones provide a great balance between outstanding sound quality and ease of use. Combined with free software like Audacity, these microphones can be used for projects ranging from podcasts, to music recording, to auto-tuning.
5. Makedo Class Bundle ($140) – These simple plastic fasteners allow for unlimited creative potential.
123D Catch – Use this free iOS or Android app to create 3D models and images using photogrammetry.
Mmm Tsss – A simple, free, and easy to use music looper.
Aurasma – Easy to use software to create augmented reality images.
Word Lens – A free augmented reality translation app.
123D Make – Slice 3D models to create amazing paper crafts.
Audacity – Amazing open-source audio recording software
While this is far from a definitive list – hopefully it provides a good jumping off point for some maker-style creativity.