Surprise Control


Zürich & Basel, Switzerland, 2010

As part of their event series :digital brainstorming, Migros Kulturprozent has invited me to give a couple of short afternoon and evening workshops in Basel and Z├╝rich.

Moriz’ finished machine
Moriz finished machine

Giving short workshops is always difficult for me. On one hand, I want that the participants can be more creative than if they would just assemble a prepared kit. On the other hand, understanding and building takes time and patience. And building something from scratch, when you’ve never worked with electronics before, will barely produce exciting results in such a short time.

Based on the workshop handout ...
Raphael Rogenmoser is thinking
... participants came up with their own circuits
Raphael Rogenmoser is surprised

In this workshop, the participants have built little “Surprise Machines”, based on the “Surprise Controller”. This was a preprogrammed microcontroller with a vast variety of possible behaviours. Depending on which peripherals were connected to which pins of the chip, the device could do different things.

Gunar’s finished machine
Gunars finished machine

By preparing the chip in advance, I made it easy for the participants to build individual machines rather quick. So they could all be creative in designing their device. Depending on the workshop participant's individual skills, the little machines were different in their level of elaboration.

Some more pictures

Kids working hard
Kids working hard
Soldering little things
Soldering little things
Lurking what others do
Lurking what others do

Special thanks

Many thanks go to the nice people of the Swiss Mechatronic Art Society for lending us all the solder equipment. Thanks to Migros Kulturprozent for inviting me and thanks to Kunstraum Walcheturm (Zürich) and [] (Basel) for hosting the workshop.

Additional resources