Brain Stimulations
Teaching children about the human brain

The Challenge:

  • How might we re-define what an interface looks like?
  • How can we create an educational tool out of arduino sensors and datasets from the internet?

    The Outcome:

    • We created a toy out of an Arduino that would teach children about where in the brain we detect the 5 senses.

    My Role:

    This project was a collaboration between me and Tucker Gibson. My role was:
    • 3-D print the physical interface.
    • Assembling and setting up the arduino sensors.
    • Coding the arduino set up.

    Brain stimulations is the end-product of a question Tucker Gibson and I were exploring- "How might we redefine what a physical interface looks like." This was a creative project that provoked us to think about interfaces beyond our rectangular phone screens, tablets and, laptop. We wanted to create a physical interface that would encourage play, discovery and, learning.

    Whilst choosing an area to creatively ideate in, Tucker brought about his observation that his niece is addicted to the iPad. Nursery and primary schools were now introducing iPads in class and many parents were worried about screen-time and children opting to play games on the iPad instead of indulging and physical play.

    We then visited a local primary school and spoke with enthusiastic teachers about our creative exploration and the addiction patterns we had read about kids online. A science teacher mentioned that he was thinking of a creative approach to teach about the brain and in particular, where in our brain do we detect the 5 senses. From his experience teaching during the previous years, he told us that students found it difficult to grasp topics on the brain because they could not physically see it!

    Therefore, we started working on a creative and tactile approach that would interest students about the human brain.

    our approach
    The goal of this project was to create a prototype. You can view the project in action here.

    We first researched and identified the areas of the brain that detect the senses. We then located it a dataset compiled by Oblong Labs, Los Angeles. According to our research these were the areas:

    Smell: Right Posterior Anterior Cingular Cortex

    Sight: Vermis

    Touch: Right Posterior Mid Cingulate Cortex Flow

    We then hooked up the Arduino with their respective sensors. We then tested the optimal range values to trigger a reaction to the stimuli and coded it into the Arduino.

    Lastly, we printed a 3-d mask and hooked the sensors to it.
    Arduino set-up behind the interface.
    Hooking up the Arduino to sensors
    Creating a range of values for the Arduino sensor
    Final product in action