Technology will Save Us (TWSU) is a brilliant organisation which exists to educate and enable people to make and experiment creatively with technology. Their philosophy is all about showing people how to produce, not just consume technology. Their workshops allow you to buy some arduino kit at each session (or bring your own) to be able start to build and create little devices. I explained to my Dad who wasn’t familiar with arduino that it is a bit like lego for adults, although now having attempted to use it I would say it is a tiny bit more complicated than that but the enjoyment of building and connecting objects is equally or more thrilling!
I am definitely guilty of not having a true understanding of how simple bits of technology work. After seeing some brilliant projects exploring what Russell termed ‘the internet of things’ a while back like this and this I think it is time to start trying out my own projects too. Many of us don’t really have a clear understanding of how the future will look and feel because of a lack of understanding about how technology really works and how it will affect our lives.
I am sure if we do, we can come up with some interesting solutions for brands that we may have not initially considered possible. As a creative industry we cannot make the mistake to just attribute these projects to the ‘techies in the corner who know how to do all that coding stuff’ (not that it is all about coding). Another company LittleBits recently launched in New York urging the education system to take electronics seriously which highlights this is not just important for ad land, but also important to teach young people about applying this thinking in art, design and music where the boundaries are becoming blurred when creating and developing new ideas with technology.
So I went along to a TWSU introductory course to start to try to get to grips with this stuff. My aim is to learn and develop my understanding of basic coding and Arduino to be able to experiment with concepts and ideas myself.
I read a great piece from a guy in Wired who explained why it is important to do this in a far more succinct way, he said we all need a higher TQ – technology quotient – to adapt to rapidly changing technological conditions.
Technology will shape us as much as we shape it and it will be interesting to understand how to shape it. Oh and this quote helps too if you are interested in having a go:
“Once people have cleared the initial hurdle of experimenting with new technologies or behaviours, the barrier to repeating them is lowered as they have a clearer understanding of the benefits, and the confidence to use them again. We expect to see more evidence of these sorts of behaviours in the future.”
I am working developing some arduino projects with my sister who is an artist/designer/film expert about to embark on an MA at Chelsea Art School where the lines between technology and art are becoming more and more blurred. We have set up a tumblr to record any useful bits and bobs dedicated to this area. It is here and here is our twitter too. Do follow us!
What I found really fascinating was watching how a piece of Arduino kit placed in the hands of architects, artists and designers and even dentists (I sat next to a dentist who was interested in Arduino after he had seen a TED talk on it and wanted to find out more – he ended up picking it up ridiculously fast) had different interpretations and ideas to solve a problem. Each person making and re-imagining gadgets and devices in a different way ends up being a lot of fun!