Gabby Resch talks Critical Making for Made in Toronto

As part of the Made in Toronto exhibition which opened last week, Gabby Resch was recorded speaking about critical making and the critical making lab. Watch the videos here.

In the news: 3D printing prosthetic legs for children in Uganda

The Critical Making Lab has been in the news this week. National and international media have been covering a project which aims to develop a set of procedures for the creation of 3D printed prosthetic sockets.

CBC News Toronto (January 17)
Global National (from ~20 minute mark) (January 16)
Global News (January 16)
Radio Canada Telejournal Ontario (from 39:14) (January 17)
Washington Post (January 17)
Canadian Press (January 16) (carried by the Globe and Mail)
CHML Hamilton, The Scott Thompson Show (January 17) (no link available)
CBC Toronto, Metro Morning (January 16)

Critical Making Hackathon on Big Data and Surveillance at CHI

Critical Making Lab director Matt Ratto, along with lab members Antonio Gamba Bari and Gabby Resch and a small group of collaborators, are co-organizing a critical making hackathon at the upcoming ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The deadline for interested participants to submit applications for involvement in the hackathon has been extended to January 24th. More information can be found here.

A Peek Into the Critical Making Lab…

enactive2013 from Matt Ratto on Vimeo.

Project Notebooks for Critical Making Lab 2011

Test of Arduino – Pachube link

September 22, 2010matt.rattoUncategorized0

Self-Sensing and Health – a critical making experience

I ran a critical making session with the designers at Cooler Solutions on July 15.

In the session we discussed concepts related to embodiment, health, and sensing, referring to articles by Clark, Viseu, and Wolf, and building wearable data loggers and simple bend sensors. I plan to post an instructable on the simple data logger which used an RBBB arduino-compatible from Modern Device.

Very successful event for me and provides more info on how to curate critical making events – in particular how to manage the weaving in and out of conceptual and material exploration.

More details are below:

Self-Sensing and Health – a critical making experience

The positive and negative potential for digital sensing and tracking technologies is well known. Such technologies make it possible for institutions and organizations to track and monitor individuals in a variety of ways. Much has been written about the potential for a ‘surveillance society’, with the state or private interests increasingly intervening in personal lives in both productive and destructive ways. CCTV cameras that may both increase public safety as well as the possibility of state control are a good example. Another example is the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor or “SCRAM” bracelet famously being worn by Linsay Lohan.

What makes these technologies useful as well as problematic is the way they monitor personal information (presence and location, or blood alcohol levels) and then relay that information to a central source for processing and decision-making. But what about personal usage of monitoring technology and the data that results? There are a few examples in the market that have been extremely successful, in particular medical technologies such as blood glucose meters, and sports/health devices such as the Nike+ipod pedometer system.

In this workshop we will use both conceptual exploration and material prototyping to think through some of the possibilities of ‘self-sensing’ and digital technology. We’ll refer to some academic work on the relationship between technology and the body in order to construct a shared vocabulary on this topic, and to open up the conceptual problem space beyond the current state of the art. Some of the terms we may explore include:

augmentation, ‘functionality without virtuality,’ pervasive (from Viseu, 2003)

plasticity, ‘profound embodiment’, natural-born cyborgs (from Clark, 2007)

self-knowledge, data-driven, personal data (from Wolf, 2010)

We will then use a prepared selfsensor kit to build personal self-sensors, explore their use, and discuss future innovations and possibilities.

10AM-10:15AM: Intros, brief discussion of critical making, plans for the day

10:15-10:30: Discussion of interests around health, data, and sensing

10:30-11:00: Brief overview of potentially useful concepts (from readings):

11:00-1: Making selfsensors

1:00-2:00: Lunch

2:00-3:00: Discussion

Talk on material prototyping and collaboration

Yesterday I gave a brief talk on the above topic at the Identity, Privacy, and Security Research Symposium. More info available here:

Critical Making Course Final Show 2010

We held the Critical Making Final Project Show last night in Rm. 119, Bissell Building, University of Toronto.

The course uses design-based research on physical  computing as an adjunct to information scholarship, exploring critical information issues related to intellectual property, technological bias, technical skill, and identity. It is offered yearly as part of the Masters of Information Degree in the Faculty of Information.

The projects that were shown last night address questions of wearable computing and explore how they potentially change the relationship between private information and public space.

The Sphinx Helmet –

“Open Wide Goggles”

Sensi-Safe –

Pseudonymity –

iKu575 –

Standards –

To view pictures from the event –

Ignite Toronto 2009

January 11, 2010matt.rattoUncategorized0

In December I gave an Ignite talk on Critical Making at the Drake Hotel. I want to thank the organizers Michelle Perras and Peter Horvath for inviting me to participate! Click on the image below to watch the video (link to Vimeo).

Ratto at Ignite 2009, picture by Kate Hartman

Ratto at Ignite 2009, picture by Kate Hartman

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