Inspired by the co-reliance that enables students to push their intellectual boundaries, Alexandra Olivier and Andrew Reiter created an interactive installation, “Social Synapses”, in the science center of Wellesley College.
As students connect with each other in the “Leaky Beaker Cafe” and lounge, interactive neurons fire. The speed of the firings are correlated with student activity levels.
Neurons use a custom XBee toolkit (currently called PicoBees) that attempts to simplify wireless programming for children. The toolkit uses a graphical programming language (PicoBlocks) as well as a simplified, centralized way to control multiple boards.
Video of the Social Synapses below: