Kinetic Musicale: Collaborative R&D with LEGO, Twitter, and Digital Tools

Kinetic MusicaleWhen: Saturday, October 15

Where: Room 204 – CERAS Building, Stanford

Who: Ryan Jenkins (The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA, USA)
Lianna Kali (The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA, USA)
Sebastian Martin (The Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA, USA)


In the Tinkering Studio at the Exploratorium we have been exploring possibilities for tinkering with LEGO pieces including adding in other materials and thinking of unusual uses for the construction kit.  

In this hands-on workshop we’ll create linkage-based musical machines using LEGO motors, gears, and technic beams. These mechanisms can strike, pluck, and brush against musical instruments to make unique rhythmic patterns. Participants will share their creations and combine them to create a collaborative orchestra.

After the hands-on workshop, we’ll take some time to reflect on our process as a learner during the activity and think about the implications for our practice as educators.  Tinkering Studio educators will share about how the activity was developed, focusing on how the combination of LEGO pieces and custom parts made with digital fabrication tools shared through social media has proved to be a novel way to engage in rapid prototyping and collaborate remotely.

Workshop schedule:

  • 10 min – Welcome and introductions
  • 45 min – Building sound machines
  • 15 min – Sharing projects and creating a collaborative orchestra
  • 40 min – Reflecting about activity and discussion about activity development, digital fabrication and sharing with social media