Monday, January 31, 2011

A video from our TEI'11 Studio and a Windows widget are now online

We're back from the TEI conference. We posted a short video (below) to share a little of our day with you. You'll see the 9 energetic participants in action - building crimp cards, going beyond example programs, and discussing how Modkit activities might open up new design possibilities within the communities they represent.

We also made a Windows version of the desktop widget available today! Now, many more of you will be able to preview the beta release. Visit our download page to grab it.

TEI 2011 Tinkering with Tangibles Studio.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Public Beta Preview Launched

We just launched our Public Beta Preview release.  If you're on a Mac you can download the companion desktop widget to start programming your Arduino Uno or Duemilanove right away.  We're working hard to release the Windows version but in the meantime, you can go ahead and try the online editor and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today's the day: Modkit Make Article and Beta Preview Release

Our article in Make Magazine officially hits newsstands today and although we initially hoped to have a solid Beta release before Make subscribers received their copies over the last two weeks, we're happy to announce that we'll be making a preview release of the Editor available later today.  As the Modkit editor is web based, we have a companion desktop application (more like a desktop widget) that you'll need to use in order to program your board.  The Mac version of the Modkit desktop widget is already available to download and we hope to also make the Windows version available with the preview release later on, but there are still a few loose ends to tie up. A Linux release will come shortly after.

The preview release is focused on the Modkit CrimpCard tutorial from the Make article, so if you want to try it out, you might want to pick up a copy.  We're going to get back to work, but check out the images from the upcoming release.  We're really excited and hope you are too.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Countdown to the beta release and a hands-on Studio at TEI '11

As the countdown to the beta release continues, a few communities in particular are especially excited. MAKE Magazine subscribers who have read the recent Modkit article are eager to give Crimp Cards a try. Teens in the Boston Learn 2 Teach, Teach 2 Learn program are thirsty to do more with Modkit and explore how its new features can enable them to take their projects in new directions. This upcoming weekend, several people attending the Fifth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI 11) will meet the new Modkit tools in a hands-on workshop setting.

To date, feedback from workshops that bring together creators of all ages and backgrounds has helped Modkit evolve. On Sunday January 23rd, 2011, Ed and I will be in Funchal, Portugal running a hands-on studio workshop with 20 participants at TEI 11. The Studio is called "A Toolkit for Tinkering with Tangibles and Connecting Communities."

Preparing for the TEI Studio and beta release at the same time has involved a lot of work - sometimes late-night in the kitchen, as the photo below shows. Going to the TEI conference will be a welcome change of pace. The other photo below shows the TEI homepage featuring pictures that suggest this Studio will have a beautiful backdrop - a welcome break from local kitchens, computer labs, and cafes.

The Studio participants will range from first-time tinkerers to long-time creators of tangible technologies. We'll be working with the group to remix Crimp Cards and explore ways to extend the Modkit tools so that they meet the needs of diverse creative communities. The rough schedule is as follows:

9AM - 10AM
-get to know the participants.
-use the supplied electronic and craft components to prototype an interactive object.
10AM - 12PM
-discuss what everyone created or attempted to create.
-revise the starter projects with new materials the organizers introduce.
12PM - 1PM
1PM - 2PM
-rework the morning projects to incorporate new ideas or start a second project.
-go through the process of extending the Modkit toolkit to meet the needs of communities that the participants represent.
2PM - 3PM
-reflect and discuss the topics of creative communities and computational toolkits.

We look forward to going live with the new Modkit and later posting photos from the TEI Studio.
Stay tuned.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Modkit's Going Public!

After almost a year in private Alpha, Modkit is finally coming out with its first public Beta release just days away.  The year 2010 was a busy one for Modkit and we're happy to be able to share the fruits of our labor with the world.  The upcoming release is the result of feedback from our Alpha testers and the expansion of our vision following our successful Kickstarter campaign.  We owe our Alpha testers and Kickstarter backers our deepest gratitude, as they patiently waited for features and rewards while we essentially put the Alpha version down to re-design the system from the ground up.

We have many things to report in the next few days.  First, let us introduce you to the new site design.  The site will be coming online in bits over the next week, but you can get a glimpse of the new design on our homepage.  There you'll see a giant "M", which will prove very significant once people get their hands on the upcoming release. We're going to get back to work on the public Beta release, but stay tuned...   There is more to come real soon!