Archive for the ‘education’ Category

2nd Place at Hack the Museum at The Henry Ford

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

We won 2nd place in Hack The Museum last month. On Saturday July 27th Cody Greene, Jeff Molsen, Paul Kaiser and I competed in a Hackathon, Hack the Museum at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Michigan. Below are some screen shots of the “telephone” game we made in ONE DAY! Yes, it worked, and yes we were tired.




hfm5 hfm6

 The Opportunity

You know when you are looking at a big display case in a museum and you know they have more stuff in some back room but you can’t see it. Well our hack solves that and gives digital access to those objects. In addition we wanted to make it a fun experience, making it into a game. This game could be played pre-visit before someone comes to the museum or perhaps by kids on a kiosk while their parents are waiting in line to buy tickets.

The concept

We blended the physical and the digital. We allow the visitor to reach back into the collections from an exhibit that they are looking at and interested in. Answering “What else might be in the basement or back room?” We also allowed the different sorting/arrangement of a collection be it by date which is different than how it’s ordered in the display. It is easier to resort, rearrange digital items quickly. Lastly, we made a game that flipped or pivoted how people approach the objects. Instead of the telephone first like you see in the display, we first played a sound, and then the person had to guess which telephone made that sound.

 Overall application design

We had access to many of the museum’s API, with the web API we  used java JAXB to parse and unmarshall the results from xml to java which we used in our JSPs to display the results. We  used java xjc to generate java classes that are analogs to the xml schema and when we unmarshall the results from calling the web service those java classes are what get populated. We used APACHE HTTP client API communicating with the web service.


Official Hack the Museum Site at Maker Faire Detroit

Blog Article about the Hacking The Henry Ford (The Henry Ford Official Blog)

Deadline Detroit article highlighting the 1st place winner

Cody Greene

Jeff Molsen

Paul Kaiser




Youth Design visiting Chicago

Thursday, August 9th, 2012











I  attended a talk at IDEA shop IIT about Youth Design (thanks Rachael Kaberon). Youth Design is a summer mentorship program that introduces inner-city high school students to careers in the design profession.  Many of the Youth Design people from Boston flew in to speak and share their stories. It was founded by Denise Korn. She and Youth Design are doing some exciting work.  Hopefully there is a bright future for them here in Chicago.

Much of the evening’s discussion was about diversity and workplaces and schools and careers and jobs. How can we fix the big problems. What can designers do? What can design companies and departments do? What should designers be doing to improve things over the long term? Is Youth Design workable in Chicago?  The event had a high energy and much promise. I don’t know where things will go, but I am sure it will be interesting. They have done wonderful things in Boston and shared some incredible stories.

One of the speakers that evening (I think it Robert Lewis Jr) talked about designers and big problems. He asked why don’t we find designers working on these big problems and about how he thinks about designers and what they are like. He said designers are fixers. They fix things. They see something, see how it is, and see how it could be and make it so. They fix things. The other aspect he brought up was about  designers and magic. He said that designers have magic and create things. A nice outside look at designers and design. Simple and clear. It’s how people see designers.

Youth Design seems to have crafted some good “fixing” magic.