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GoGo Board Project

Professor Roger was my former senior project committee, on the Graphics Waterfall project

When I heard about his mission with the GoGo Board, I couldn't help but join his force to create tangible robotic projects. My initial role was to design a fun user experience on the GoGo Board 5 (PiTopping) website as an interactive archive for the latest version of the GoGo Board. Since it was a very user-friendly embedded system, I also helped the team facilitate Basic Fabrication Workshop and Data Driven Workshop at Darunsikalai School of Innovative Learning. 

Facilitating in this workshop reminds me of my first programming class, where I struggled most with logical unfamiliarities. However, seeing how easy it is to execute commands on the GoGo Board made simple ideas substantial. Even people without programming backgrounds can understand its functionality in just few tries. I wish my first programming class was as easy to understand and as pragmatic as these workshops that I help facilitated. With that in mind I thought about how nice it would be if young children are exposed to programming concepts at a very young age. 

After the workshop I introduced the functionalities of this GoGo Board to my friend who studies Education Technology at Columbia University and she planned to use this as a medium for Thai under-privileged kids on a workshop called "Little Builder." We planned to join forces and experiment this learning interaction together. 

Every time I teach people how to use the GoGo Board to build tangible prototypes from their ideas, I feel as if I am relearning with virtual experience. As a learner, you only need to understand the concept once and work on the prototype. As a mentor, you need to think about the best way to deliver your lessons and make sure learners understood the entire context. Every workshop is a learning experiment. Feedbacks are very conducive to evaluate which teaching methods work and which not. 

Joining this venture is a very meaningful journey. I feel as if I can contribute something fundamental to Thai people as a whole.

About GoGo Board

The GoGo Board was conceived in 2001 by Arnan (Roger) Sipitakiat and Paulo Blikstein while both were graduate students at the MIT Media Laboratory. It was hugely inspired by the MIT Cricket and the I RX board. GoGo Board 1.x and 2.x were tethered­only devices, allowing children to create games and simulations that incorporate sensors and actuators. A strong emphasis was made on allowing the GoGo Board to be locally produced. The GoGo Board uses a single­side PCB and no surface mount devices. This DIY approach made the board low­cost and available in places where imported goods were prohibitively expensive or simply not available.

GoGo Board 3.x incorporated a Logo compiler that allowed the GoGo board to be programmed and run autonomously. in 2007, when Arnan graduated, MIT gave permission to open source the GoGo Board software. Arnan and Paulo continued the development, although not actively. In 2009, the GoGo Board 4 was released. It featured an integrated USB port. Interest in the GoGo Board increased with this release. Although not fully commercialized, this is the first GoGo Board that become widely used, with almost two thousand boards produced during its six­year lifetime.

Version 5, released in 2015, is a complete redesign of the GoGo Board. The abundance of DIY electronics in recent years has made the emphasis on “making your own board” less and less relevant. Thus, the GoGo Board now fully uses the latest and miniaturized parts available on the market. A number of key technical advancement have been included. It uses HID instead of the old serial port for communication. HID does not require a driver and can start communication with a computer automatically. This allows for a plug­and­play experience on any computer and any platform right out of the box. The Logo language has also been improved to support longer procedures and features many new functionalities. A blocks­based visual programming environment called Tinker has also been developed alongside the classic text programming environment. The GoGo Board 5 is designed to make use of the Raspberry Pi. When attached, the Raspberry Pi acts as a slave device that can carry out tasks given to it by the Logo program running on the GoGo Board. This framework opens up new possibilities to use advanced peripherals like cameras, sound, GPS, etc. Smartphones can also be incorporated. All of these new functionality is driven by a Logo program on the GoGo Board.

Roles

User Experience Designer and Researcher

UI mock-up and Design Custom Interface Design

Facilitate Basic Fabrication and Data-Driven Workshop with GoGo Board

Analyze User Feedback

Provide Lessons associated with GoGo Board Wiring Functionalities

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