How Two Artists Shared a New Point of View

Art allows us to see the world from the point of view of the artist as they show their own experience and perspective in their work.

For two Korean artists, the 3Doodler provided a new way to express themselves through their art.

“If I could have anything in the world, I’d want to stand and walk on my own two feet and dance,” says Kim Hyung-hee. The 47-year-old painter was paralyzed in a traffic accident, and knows just how important art and creative expression can be in aiding in recovery and mental health.

Kim now works as a clinical art therapist, and discovered the 3Doodler as a new way to bring dimension and life into her artwork.

“I drew a three-dimensional flower on canvas,” she says, recalling her first Doodle. “In contrast with common drawing and painting, I can draw everything in new ways, and it’s new to be able to draw in three-dimensional ways.”

Hyung-hee has had private exhibitions of her work, as well as showcased how the 3Doodler can be used as a creative therapeutic aide in festivals and and shows around Korea.

“There are so various and beautiful colors in 3Doodler plastics,” Hyung-hee says, “and I can draw everything in three dimensions and unique ways.”

Weon Jea-hyun is a 27-year-old artist who specializes in kinetic sculpture, focused on combining movement with art.

Jea-hyun was instantly drawn to the 3Doodler and the new possibilities a 3D printing pen could offer.

“The first thing I tried Doodling was my name. It was very strange but awesome that my handwriting was realized into 3D immediately,” Jea-hyun recalls.

As an extension of work from an 2013 solo exhibition titled Observation, Jea-hyun used the 3Doodler to create a layered piece meant to showcase a shift in perspectives.

“People observe each other’s daily life. Someone can observe me, and I also can observe someone,” Jea-hyun explains. “Someone’s routine can be interesting for the other, and this metaphorical change of viewpoints can be a mechanism which assigns variability and interest to routine life.”

Jea-hyun’s own cat was the source of inspiration and the piece shows a layered crowd of attentive felines staring out at the viewer.

“In this work, cats can be interpreted as the projection of people,” Jea-hyun explains. “They observe others—the viewers—but also the viewers observe them—the cats.”

Making Physics Physical

What is the best way to learn the physics behind bridges? By building one.

To build a functional bridge, it’s important to have a strong backing in the basics of physics, Newton’s Laws, the properties of matter, and other rules and facts that describe our world—but it can be hard to see how they all work together at the same time. The best way to learn about bridges is to build them. And that’s just what they do in Glenn Couture’s class.

Getting the Drop on Science

Couture teaches Honors and AP physics at a high school in Norwalk, Connecticut. During the school year he guides students through a wide range of topics that make up physics. These include kinematics, the relationship between work, power and energy, waveforms, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, electricity and light.

Glenn Couture creates physics models using the 3Doodler Create.

A key part of teaching these topics is taking abstract descriptions of how physics work, and letting students experience them first hand.

"Small changes to the project can prove to be outsized challenges that send students back to the drawing board."

Getting through those disparate topics can take a good chunk of time, but Couture caps off many of the units with physical projects. These let students apply what they’ve learned in class to a real-world problem, demonstrating that they haven’t just learned information, but they have an understanding of how to use it.

We gave Couture a 3Doodler Create and asked him to come up with exciting ways he could incorporate it into his lesson plans. One of the first things he looked at was the classic “egg drop” experiment.

Extreme Packaging

“In the current rendition of the egg drop, the students are only allowed to use plastic drinking straws, any sort as long as there’s no paper on them, masking tape, and one raw, uncooked, uncoated, unpainted egg. The idea is to have the egg land without breaking,” Couture said.

When it comes to the actual design of the project, he has only one limitation: “It has to fit through the door of the classroom. I’ve had students come close with that depending on how many straws they’re using.” The eggs and their straw enclosures are then brought to the school’s roof and dropped 55 feet to the ground. Only those students who have eggs survive the fall receive an A.

A prototype of a Doodled egg cage.

Couture wants to attempt a variation on that project using the 3Doodler, with some new constraints. “This could be done on a smaller scale, directly in the classroom,” Couture said while examining a prototype 3Doodler egg cage. “I don’t think that it could work the full distance of 55 feet, but 16 or 18 feet would work.”

He envisions a second round of testing, while providing only a limited number of rods to students. This would add a component of “cost effectiveness” to the project. In the real world, engineers often have limited materials to work with, and need to find ways to balance competing goals.

“We had a chance to visit with the packaging engineers at a [cookie manufacturer] where they have to package things to be in trucks and things like that. So there’s that application of what they learn in the egg-drop, where they keep a product from breaking up, but we can also go bigger and look at the failed Mars Climate Orbiter of the 90’s where the probe was lost because of an error translating metric and imperial units.” Small changes to the project can prove to be outsized challenges that send students back to the drawing board.

Model Atomic Behavior

Other projects that Couture was able to develop during his time with the 3Doodler include more illustrative of processes in physics. He built a prototype model of a side-face molecule placement crystal.

A Doodled visualization of molecules in a crystal lattice.

“In chemistry, solids form crystals,” he explained while showing off the cube, a helpful tool for visualizing the relationship between molecules in a crystal lattice.

"I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa."

The 3Doodler offers an advantage for these models by producing long lasting models which illustrate the stability of various crystal types. Couture said that he would like to let groups of students work on different crystals and build up a collection of varieties over time.

“I sometimes find that students have difficulty taking a concept from 2D to 3D and vice versa,” Couture added. He feels that the 3Doodler is a unique opportunity to bridge that gap, as well as more literal ones.

Building Bridges

Another physical project that Couture’s students engage in is called “Quakertown.” Students create buildings out of folded paper that must withstand both the addition of weights and a mechanically shaken table to simulate both static and dynamic loads.

A Doodled Parker Truss bridge.

Students in his classes could one day create bridges using the 3Doodler to understand the how these complex structures operate, and compare the strengths and weaknesses of different designs.

"On the page, it’s easy to understand the X axis and the Y axis, but having it in 3D really helps you grasp the Z axis."

Couture put together a Parker Truss bridge, using a template from online. He chose the design because its gentle curve would be hard to replicate using other craft methods. However, Couture felt the 3Doodler was easily up to the task, especially after he had cut his teeth putting together other projects.

Teaching in 3 Dimensions

The last of the four samples he produced was a model of the orbitals which describe where electrons orbiting the nucleus of an atom might be found.

A Doodled orbital model.

“On the page, it’s easy to understand the X axis and the Y axis,” Couture explained as he put the finishing touches on the model, “but having it in 3D really helps you grasp the Z axis.”

After spending some time exploring the possibilities of the 3Doodler, Couture describes himself as interested in finding even more uses for the tool. It opens up unique opportunities to explore the world of physics. And those opportunities extend beyond his own classroom.

“My wife teaches seventh and eighth grade science, and she’s interested in it too. They do a bridge project using toothpicks and glue. The problem with that is it takes so long for the glue to set but this is practically instant.”

New STEM fields are emerging all the time, and rising to those challenges will require a mixture of hands-on experience, creativity, and intuitive knowledge. Couture’s time with the 3Doodler has shown just a few ways that it can help provide just that.

Looking for more ways to bring 3Doodler into your classroom?
Check out our dedicated EDU section for classroom tips, lesson plans, and exclusive EDU bundles for educators.

A Whole New Way for the Blind to Create

“I always felt that if I could see, then I would enjoy painting.”

Margaret Wilson-Hinds, age 67, is participating in a special workshop at the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) main office in Peterborough, England. Along with several other blind and partially-sighted participants, Margaret has just tried the 3Doodler Start for the first time.

Beginning with the launch of the first 3Doodler in 2013, members of our community reached out to us to explore opportunities for using the 3Doodler to overcome a variety of learning obstacles. We spoke with community centres, teachers of non-traditional learners, physical rehabilitation specialists, and teachers of the blind—all of whom thought the 3Doodler could be used to make a real difference in individual lives. As our company has grown, so has our ability to focus on these needs, with our first challenge being to adapt the 3Doodler Start for the blind and partially sighted.

“The original thinking with the first version of the 3Doodler was that it could be used by teachers of the blind and partially sighted to make tactile learning aids,” explains 3Doodler President, Daniel Cowen. “This could include raised line graphing, maps and directions, shapes or objects a student could feel, quick braille markings, feeling handwriting, and more.”

"The real goal was to create a pen that blind and partially-sighted users could use themselves."

Daniel and 3Doodler CEO Maxwell Bogue took note as feedback came in from those who saw how a 3D printing pen could fill a gap amongst learning aids, and provide support for the blind.

“From our earliest discussions with interested community members, we also learned that existing aides, like swell paper, were expensive and could be inadequate for these needs,” says Daniel. “The 3Doodler offered a robust way to draw touchable learning aids.”

However, there was one significant shortfall—up until that point most of the discussions had been with teachers for the blind and had been focused on educators using the pen to make tactile learning aids for their students. The real goal was to create a pen that blind and partially-sighted users could use themselves—placing the joy and accomplishment of creativity and learning directly into their hands.

Three years later, the launch of the 3Doodler Start provided the pathway to make this possible. With no hot parts and a plastic cool enough to touch, we finally had a 3D printing pen that was safe for all users.

Shortly after launching the 3Doodler Start, our team began the process of understanding what changes would be needed to create a meaningful experience for blind and partially-sighted users.

“RNIB wanted to test the product because the whole idea of 3D printing is a revolution,” explains RNIB Head of Strategy Steve Tyler. “But this take on it is particularly interesting because it’s portable, it’s hand-held, and it’s a whole new way of being able to allow children, young people, and anybody who is vision impaired to be creative.”

With a proactive approach to new tech and how it could be applied to helping the visually impaired, RNIB was a natural fit for a collaboration with 3Doodler, and would ensure rigorous testing and feedback so that the product could be adapted and enhanced in a meaningful way.

Conversations with RNIB provided the 3Doodler team with useful preliminary advice—such as incorporating tactile markings on the pen instead of braille, and the importance of audio instructions for blind users.

Now, after a year of feedback and testing—which included individuals, as well as two schools for the blind and partially sighted—the 3Doodler Start has been given the official RNIB product endorsement, a quality assurance mark for products identified as “easy-to-use” for those who are blind or have sight loss.

And opening new avenues for the blind to express creatively isn’t just about innovation, it has a direct personal impact on people’s lives.

“Being able to draw, and being able to feel what you’ve drawn, or being able to create a product using this kind of manual 3D printing method is really new and innovative,” says Steve. “I’ve got a 5 year old son, and I spent an hour with him yesterday. A sighted son, and me as a blind father, and we were able to enjoy the 3Doodler together.”

"It’s a whole new way of being able to allow children, young people, and anybody who is vision impaired to be creative."

Back at the RNIB office in Peterborough, Roger Wilson-Hinds admits he was reluctant to participate in the 3Doodler workshop. “I came thinking I couldn’t cope with this kind of stuff, I had to persuade myself to come,” he says. But after experimenting with patterns on cups and forms, and creating a ring for himself, he’s glad he stepped out of his comfort zone. “I’ve come away with the idea that [the 3Doodler] could be really good, this could be good for lots of people.”

The official RNIB case study put the 3Doodler Start into the hands of both young students and adults, with participants aged between 8 and 78 and with varying degrees of sight loss and vision.

Through participant feedback as well as recommendations from RNIB, the 3Doodler Start now has tactile buttons, new audio instructions to help users get started, and will soon have full instructions in Braille.

“For me, I always enjoyed art but I could never fully see what I was doing,” says Mark Evans, at the RNIB workshop.

“And I’d have the idea in my head, and I’d draw it on the page, and it’d look awful! Because I’m not a great artist,” he laughs.

But with the 3Doodler, Mark didn’t feel the same sense of frustration he’d had in the past with traditional creative tools. “This would enable me to do things and be creative and produce a better quality of work and enjoy art a lot more,” he says.

Everyone at 3Doodler is immensely proud of the work done with RNIB, as well as the impact these product changes will have on the creative lives of our users. We want to thank everyone who has been involved in this project to date, and underscore our commitment to creating a world where every person, regardless of ability, can have access to the tools they need to create and learn.

To learn more about 3Doodler EDU products, click here:

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Visit the official RNIB website to learn more about their work in supporting the blind and partially sighted.

The Best Creative Toys for Summer 2017

School’s out for summer, but that doesn’t mean learning and creativity has to stop!

It’s no secret that 3Doodler is a big fan of tactile learning and imaginative play. And we’re not the only ones—the toy trends for 2017 show a strong focus on STEM and STEAM, promoting creativity and making education and discovery more fun.

Now that summer has finally arrived, here’s our recommendations for the top 11 toys to help kids continue to learn, explore, and create all summer long:

  • Get Your Move On

    Summer is the time for kids to seize the opportunity to get out of their classrooms and get their bodies moving with some outdoor play. Combining engineering and technical exploration with movement is a great way to do that! That’s the idea behind the Mover Kit from Technology Will Save Us. Kids build their own mover wristband, and then custom program it to react to all kinds of movements with different flashing lights. Kids can come up with new games and sequences to program into their movers to keep them engaged all summer long.
  • Take It Outside

    For kids who like to build and create, Flybrix lets you make your own drone using LEGO bricks. Kids can explore the different intricacies of drone flight with these kits designed for trial and error. Once completed, they can take their creations to the skies and see their creativity in action! Perfect for kids looking to jump start their career as a drone operator.
  • Tiny Tech, Endless Exploration

    When it comes to tiny tech, it doesn’t get much smaller (or cuter!) than the Ozobot. This pocket-sized robot comes to life with easy-to-use color codes that kids can draw.  There are also printable games and interactive missions and adventures through an app. The interface teaches kids the basics of coding and programming through fun, engaging games.
  • Lights, camera, action!

    For kids with a story to tell, there are several creative options which let them take the director’s seat for their own animations! StikBot Zanimation Studio helps kids create their own videos with creative characters and stories of their own design. Even in small spaces, kids can create scenes as boundless as their imaginations!
  • Light It Up

    Creating circuits is now as easy as drawing with the Circuit Scribe conducive ink pen. The included magnetic modules snap onto the circuits kids draw. Make simple or complex circuits or get creative and add lights, motion, or sound to your drawings!
  • Flex Your Imagination

    Bend, zip, connect, and snap to bring your imagination to life with Magnaflex. In these connectable kits, magnetic pieces connect in creative construction kits to help kids create everything from animals and vehicles to wearable accessories.
  • Be a Mini Mad Scientist

    Encourage your inner mad scientist with innovative tech toys that get kids looking at engineering in a completely new way. Turn a banana into a piano, or your favorite candy into a game controller with Makey Makey. The small circuit board can connect your computer with anything you can think of. With different apps and customizable programs, you can create your own drum kit with your leftovers from lunch, making learning about circuits and connectivity engaging and fun!
  • Creativity is a snap!

    Ready to ramp up your robotics, create your own connected devices, or take your engineering to the next level? The connecting blocks from littleBits offer 60 modules for combo creation, so kids can make their own gadgets to suit any purpose. Different kits let kids focus on smart home solutions, programming moving vehicles, and making music through tech. With tons of combinations, kids can explore how they can use technology in any setting.
  • Build It Your Way

    For budding architects who want to bring their fantasy house designs to life, Arckit lets you design, plan, and construct your own detailed building models. These free-form model kits let kids physically explore their design ideas and create realistic houses and building structures.
  • Turn Can't into Kano

    Create and code your own computer from scratch, build your own speaker, or construct a working camera. With the computer and coding kits from Kano, kids get hands-on experience on building, connecting, and coding as an easy and fun introduction to computer programming.
  • Do More With Doodles

    Of course, no toy list that focuses on tactile tech and creativity would be complete without our own 3Doodler. Our new 3Doodler Start Themed Kits let kids explore robotics, product design, and architecture while their imaginations are at their prime! For teenagers, the 3Doodler Create has endless possibilities for creative projects.

Looking to use this guide as a handy reference? Get the full guide as a PDF here.