Recap March 4, 2015: Ariel Waldman, Space + World of Motors

This Week in the Bit-0-Sphere: There are Many Ways to Learn

There is more than one way to do space exploration–NASA doesn’t always have the best answer. -Ariel Waldman

We had an amazing “cosmic” week with Ariel Waldman from Space Hack + David Sharp, Maker Extraordinaire. We’ve also been exploring different learning styles, and how littleBits encourages “tinkerability” and an applied imagination.

Top Moments in the Community Call

We reflected on the last time we felt wonder about science, and how we could use littleBits to re-activate that wonder.

David Sharp dropped some knowledge about servo motors, their current draw and using “lipstick” chargers.

Ariel Waldman from Spacehack encouraged us to “think-outside-the-box” and engage a “punk rock” attitude toward exploration.

We explored the “Space Channel” IFFT Recipe:

Space has evoked a sense of wonder for millennia and is the ultimate domain left to explore.

The Space Channel is a native IFTTT Channel powered by NASA, Open Notify, Mars Atmospheric Aggregation System, and How Many People Are In Space Right Now.

@Maven shared this awesome short video that convinced all of us to find alternative ways to think about space travel:

@chloeatplay shared this list from Spachack of cities at night

@Ginger got really excited about putting a cloudBit on a weather balloon. (PLEASE PLEASE make this happen Ginger!)

@Aditi shared this stellar space list:

This right here is a comet. We just landed a probe on one of those bad boys. Here’s what one looks like compared with Los Angeles:

Projects + N00b Nation

Can’t say enough about the glorious n00bs rocking the “Basics” track. Here are a few examples of “travel tales” where folks are using motors for the first time.

@heidic’s “Giraffe and Hedgie”

Project 2: Giraffie and Hedgie are on a trip to visit Hedgie’s family in Europe. They are crossing the Atlantic on a boat and the Seas are a bit rough. LittleBits used: Servo motor (set on turn for boat motion), Dimmer Switch and 9V battery. Artwork by Sarah (7).

@Theo_IGetIt’s: “A Wrinkle in Time”

@chris10’s reflective take on “bricolage”:

And @timcox made a device that let’s him know that he’s being too loud (solid bargraph usage here).

For Catch Up: About March 4 Guest Ariel Waldman

Ariel Waldman makes “massively multiplayer science”, instigating unusual collaborations that spark clever creations for science and space exploration.

She is the founder of, a directory of ways to participate in space exploration, and the global director of Science Hack Day, an event that brings together scientists, technologists, designers and people with good ideas to see what they can create in one weekend. Recently, she launched, a catalog of the active human-made machines that freckle our solar system and dot our galaxy. Ariel is an appointed National Academy of Sciences committee member of a congressionally-requested study on the future of human spaceflight. She also sits on the council for NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC), a program that nurtures radical, sci-fi-esque ideas that could transform future space missions. In 2013, Ariel received an honor from the White House for being a Champion of Change in citizen science.

  1. OSCON 2011: Ariel Waldman, “Hacking Space Exploration”

2. Adults are the Future:
3. The Future of Humans in Space:


While watching the video above, I felt really curious about the part that she says that “open doesn’t mean accessible” (11:08). So I wanted to ask her:

How important do you think is the role of graphic design and user experience interfaces into making open things (hardware, software, data, etc.) more accessible?

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