Get kids interested in tech with this dancing traffic light

special "live" dancing cross walk sign

dancing-walk-signalYou know we’re interested in the combination of “art” with science and technology, so we loved this project which hacks the traditional “green man” signal for walking across an intersection. This Smart Company (as in Smart Car) project hooked the “man” up to motion capture of an individual dancing in a nearby booth.

Many people went in to the booth and the dances were broadcast to the pedestrian light in real time. The idea was to improve safety by helping people wait for the light before crossing. The dancing made waiting less boring and more entertaining. And it worked; 81% more people stopped at the traffic light, and enjoyed it, according to this short video about the project.

From a sustainability standpoint, we like technology that makes life better for pedestrians and cyclists.

My kids loved the video but be aware, the music has a bad word (a**, as in “shake your…”).

Mix STEM into your Halloween brew

3D printed decorations for pumpkins

Halloween is around the corner, and this year 3D printing offers a way to tie some design and engineering to costumes and decorations.

3D printed decorations for pumpkins

Cubify is offering 3D printing patterns that are free to download. Along with pumpkin accessories, you can choose masks, mustaches and other spooky decorations. Even better, have a look at these patterns for inspiration and then use one of the simple software programs — such as 123D Design (free from Autodesk), Sculptris (free from Pixologic), or Doodle3D (requires WiFi box), or Makers Empire (free app to download)–  to create your own designs.

And now you can choose from a number of options assuming that, like most people, you don’t have a 3D printer. Options include:

The UPS store, which has rolled out 3D printing services at a number of stores in the US

A few public libraries and many schools

3D printing services such as Sculpteo, i.materialize, and Shapeways

On the subject of costumes, have a look at an amazing suit one woman created through 3D printing.

3D printed costume, Varia suit

It’s a Varia Suit worn by the character Samus Aran in the video game series Metroid. But even if you’re like me and you’ve never heard of the game, it’s still impressive, and all the more inspiring when a woman takes on a project like this (if she is a woman…she’s a bit mysterious). This article (at tells more of the story.

Would you ride this bike?

A few months back I wrote a post about 6 ways that bicycles help kids learn about sustainability. Innovation was one — and there were some crazy and wonderful pictures.

So when I saw this 3D printed mesh bicycle frame I just had to add it to the “catalogue” of bicycle innovations that are sure to get kids thinking about how we make (engineer) things. The green wheels are a nice touch too!



This bike was created by Australian industrial designer James Novak and I learned about it on i.materialise, where Novak said,

“What I really wanted to achieve was something that takes full advantage of the benefits of 3D printers, especially the ability to create one-off, customizable pieces that may be lighter-weight and stronger than traditional frames through the use of complex lattice structures. More than anything, I’d like my work to be an example of what we should be 3D Printing.”
From a sustainability angle, lighter weight makes bicycling more accessible and I can see this mesh design having implications for folding or other “portable bikes” that you might take on the train and such.
So what do you think? Would you ride it? How about the kids you know?