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Day 20 – Dramatic and Chromatic Interpretation

Jul 29, 2016 8:55:00 PM

After Jason gave us a taste of the Theater and Electronics final project in his postscript to yesterday’s post, Proctor Valentina Connell gives us a deeper look at the students’ midterm projects.

Coryell and Tysean's robot will be making its acting debut later this week in Theater + Electronics class
Coryell and Tysean tape out the path of their rover.

It’s Electronics class, and the Experimentors are working on their Rover and Voice Acting Project. Their goal: to program robots to follow a line by sensing differences in light; then to film their movement using their iPads; and finally to voiceover the movie to transform their rovers into popular movie characters. When I visit the students are making Dory and Marlin, Hans Solo and Kylo Ren, Gandalf and Saruman, Elsa and Anna, Rapunzel and the Prince, and many more. Their current challenge is programming the rovers to interpret the black lines of tape they can detect with their photoresistors.

The photoresistors are the components of the rovers that sense changes in light. As Experimentor Coryell explains, “The photoresistors only sense the amount of light, but don’t know what to do with the information. By programming [the rover’s Arduino computer chips], we can tell the rover how to interpret the information, so we tell it to move along the black tape, where there is not a lot of [reflected] light [when compared to the white table tops].”

The biggest challenge the students have faced is calibrating how the photoresistors in this interpretation. Problems arose because they worked on this project at different times of the day and moved the tables around, changing shadows and glares that threw off the calibration. Students had to change the resistance by turning potentiometers, which changed the calibration.

 Alex F and Hunter work with Serena and Daniel to program Cinderella and Prince Charming.


When I asked about the Experimentors’ favorite Theater + Electronics projects so far, Amelia answered that hers was the Stroboscopic Theatre Project, in which the students programmed lights to shine on them as they posed. The students would tell a story using five or six of these still images. The stories they told included The Wizard of Oz and Sleeping Beauty.

Amelia, Anne, Alex and Spencer's Stroboscopic interpretation of The Wizard of Oz.

The final Electronics project involves students designing lights, sound, and props for their theatre performance. Alex F., who is performing a scene from The Woman in Black, says she and her group are using their Electronics knowledge to produce a rocking chair that moves on its own.

The work the Experimentors are doing is incredibly advanced, and it’s hard not to be very impressed! Although they regularly face challenges, students work hard with their group members to figure everything out.

-- Jason B

The Exp Summer Daily provides news and updates while we are in session in July and August. The rest of the year, check out the Experimentory Blog for posts feature our students, teachers, classes, values, goals, and plans for the coming year.