We’re here to change that with The Magic Box Kickstarter, ending September 24th (in nine days). The old way of the technology is about keeping secrets. We think that’s shortsighted. And Boring. That’s why we’re bringing the maker movement to your door (or local park or event) so that you can experience the difference for yourself.*
We are Sean Stevens and Ashley Newton, and we have crafted a new way to bring making to the next generation - whether it be with youth or adults, schools or companies. We have extensive experience teaching teenagers and adults with little to no technical background how to build nearly anything - from mechatronic flowers, robotic frogs that recognize facial expressions, immersive flight simulators that literally 'send you flying' and much much more ...
We’ve created a curriculum and format that's adaptable to anyone, anywhere. And now they're raising money to build a mobile maker space and media lab -- the Magic Box -- to go “door to door” inspiring and educating people. Here's how it works:
Sustainable Magic Cycle of Creativity and Inspiration
- Inspire. Inspiration is at the heart of our approach. We’ll act as a mobile art and innovation gallery, holding free, public, outdoor interactive exhibitions to show people what’s possible, and ignite curiosity and passion to learn the secrets of “how”.
- Create. We’ll enable experienced and first-timers to create amazing things using the awesome toolset of the Magic Box.
- Educate. In our workshops, experienced, passionate creators & educators will guide people to create for the first time, or help advance the abilities of those with experience. We’ll empower people with knowledge and the ability to rapidly problem-solve. The result? More confident, creative, capable people throughout the world.
Inspiration leads to hard work and experience. Work leads to learning. We share our experiences and creations with others, who are then inspired to experience and work. The cycle repeats and grows.
Would the iPhone exist without the Hitchhikers's Guide to The Galaxy? Maybe, but the world would be a little less wonderful. It takes inspiration to make things happen. And mentorship to realize you can do the same.
Magic is a metaphor for experiences we don't understand. As Arthur C. Clarke put it, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
Our response? "A Mage can conjure Matter, Intelligence, Light, Motion... and even Money. The power to transmute thought into reality…Science Fiction into fact. We can all have that magic." And that’s what we hope to share with the world through the Sustainable Magic Box: the magic of creation through the use of technology.
The Magic Box will be outfitted with a large laser cutter, 3D printers, hand tools, an Arduino lab, modular robotics components, sensors, crafting supplies, alternative energy, sound, video and lighting equipment. We will have the infrastructure to show people how to use technology to create more quickly than they ever imagined. And they're bring it to schools, maker spaces, fab labs, burning man, festivals, and venues near you*.
In the real world, you learn to accomplish something. To make something happen. Something you want to make happen. We’re changing education into something that’s natural and fun -- that works.
The proof is in the making. These are some example projects / workshops we’ve helped people create in two weeks at award-winning MIT-associated NuVu Studio:
- Robotic Flight Simulator Video Game (Hardware & game software)
- Robotic Frog with Computer Vision that Mimics Your Facial Gestures
- Artistic portable party devices
- Wearable tech fashion -- some so good they were presented at Boston Fashion Week
- Dancing Robots (wee!)
- Original robot flower!
- Synaesthesia (music transmuted into light patterns)
About Sean Stevens and Ashley Newton
Sean Stevens loves to combine science, art and design to inspire people to go “Wow!”, to question the world around them. For the past three years, he's been teaching at award winning NuVu Studio in Cambridge, MA, running many two week long immersive workshops showing high school students that they can create world-class projects if they are willing to work for it. He also lead lighting for the Dr. Brainlove art car. Sean has been designing a modular pedal- and solar-powered party system over the years through sister project, Sustainable Sound, including a pedal-powered Burning Man art car 2010-2012. Sean's experience includes everything from creating real-time interactive audio/video environments to Robotics for Art to Biotech Automation to event organization and community building. He has also collaborated with well known artist Raghava KK on numerous projects including a project for TED. In 2007 Sean accidentally shut down the entire city of Boston with LEDs.
Ashley Newton loves rainbows, robots, and LEDS, and teaching others to create! In two years, she has gone from not knowing how to make much beyond really yummy food and detailed but uninspiring market analysis reports, to making refined versions of the interactive robotic flowers, and various wearable art and fiber optic sculptures that commonly elicits the reaction, "OH MY GOD THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL!” She began teaching workshops at NuVu Studio in Cambridge, MA in early 2013, helping teens invent and then realize awesome project ideas. Her journey through creating has transformed her sense of agency in the world, and led to a series of decisions to improve her life and others. (She quit her job in Market Research a year ago and moved to SF to focus on creating Sustainable Magic.) Ashley’s background is in Cognitive Science (Smith College) and Market Research.She also designed 3D printed fiber optic LED “neuronal nodes” and led the physical assembly and installation process for the Dr. Brainlove art car.
*Especially if you live in the bay area