Change By Design

"What we understand we are better equipped to change"

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CbD Summer Training Program Introduction

The Change By Design Summer Intensive is designed to provide a stipend-supported opportunity for highly motivated learners. All the participants have come directly from outreach efforts or referrals made through partners we have worked with in these efforts.

The result is a unique group of 20 students, aged 16-24. The participants primarily represent City Heights and Colina Park, and come from Crawford, Hoover, Lincoln, MET and Patrick Henry High Schools. We have also outreached to students at Millenium Tech and Monroe Clark Middle Schools. Additionally, we have several students attending a SDCCD Community College.

We have partnered with SD Futures Foundation to provide these program participants with a bi-weekly paycheck while they are attending the course. They are engaged in learning the skills associated with working at a high level of efficiency within a laboratory setting, including safety precautions, documentation habits and presentation skills. This course is designed to be an advanced educational intervention aimed at the focused development of skills related to college preparation and career placement through tangible skill creation as well as confidence development.


The main projects areas will be:

Electronics – circuit board design, milling, components and microcontroller programming, as well as alternative energy uses and integration.

Large scale structure – conceptualization, design, 2D and 3D graphical rendering, preparing files for machining, milling on the ShopBot, assembling and installing the final design- a public art piece that discusses ideas about our community.

GPS/GIS mapping – utilizing GPS and GIS-based tools to understand ways in which visualizing information through mapping can provide important information in a way which is accessible and easy to understand. We will work with GPS equipment to create a map of Mission Trails Regional Park trails as an example, then apply this understanding of the technology to uses in our community. Additionally, we are working with a National Geographic expedition team in Mongolia to plat their coordinates in Google Earth and compare uses of these technologies.

Posted July 13th, 2009.


Youth TIER Team Designs for Humanity

Development of the conversation around humanitarian efforts and engineering: discussions from a high school-aged group of Lab-users

In introducing a group of students who regularly intern at the Fab Lab to concepts related to humanitarian assistance, I never anticipated the trouble I would cause us all. I am grateful for this trouble, as in signifies the students’ genuine desire to learn… but they have taken the task of designing for human benefit so seriously that I am having to be sure and keep up at this point.

They are genuinely concerned about their worlds, and want to make a difference, but are each stricken by a common problem: how to do something that truly makes an impact within a system that can seem so settled in its ways and impossible to fundamentally change.

I have asked the students to act as a ‘think tank’ (we’re almost there), and explore topics for discussion that they research and then present to each other in order to inform their talks.

Recently I have assigned them the task of researching topics related to their concerns and leading a joint discussion. Some of the areas of research included information by the following:

Amy Smith of MIT’s TED Talk regarding her work with designing and engineering solutions for third-world countries

Project H Design, and related discussions by its founder, Emily Pilloton on designing devices for social change.

The discussion that they have been engaging in and are now leading has moments of extreme liveliness, when ideas are coming together and they are excited about the prospects of their concepts. They also have experienced moments of lull, when they seem to feel as though they cannot get past the larger overarching elements that they are discovering play a foundational role in the social systems of the people of the world. The following are excerpts from their blog postings, and within this same folder is a video clip comprised of one of their discussions.

These can also be seen at:
Humanitarian Efforts in Engineering
Submitted by benjamin on Thu, 2009-05-14 10:43.

Amy Smith, an M.I.T graduate, has been working over the course of the past several years to develop a cleaner and more efficient way to produce heat in Haiti, due to the logging of 98% of the country’s trees. Haiti’s inhabitants use wood charcoal as the primary source of heat for warmth and cooking, further adding to the destruction of their environment. Amy, in correspondence with M.I.T, has been developing a means to create a cleaner and longer burning charcoal, as to preserve what remains of the Haitian forests. By putting “bagas,” a waste by product from extracting sugar from sugar cane, into a 55 gallon kiln and removing air at some point in the process, a fine powder is produced. Then cassava, a plant native to Haiti, can be pounded into paste and be used to mix the baga dust to create burnable briquettes.

In India, cow dung was used as the primary source of heat, thus producing a large amount of smoke. It was found that wheat straw, coupled with cow dung as a binding substance, burned cleaner than wood charcoal, but had a tendency to crumble. However, it was found that by compressing these briquettes, these briquettes burned both cleaner and longer than wood charcoal.

By far, the most effective of all these substances is corn cob charcoal. They don’t require compression and come in the appropriate size. The money used by women to buy standard, unclean cooking oil can now be used for education for them and their children, thus having economically, environmentally and health based benefits.


What Should Be Done About Poverty
Submitted by bashir on Thu, 2009-05-14 10:15.

For the past few days the fab lab interns have been doing presentations on each of their projects and seeing how each project connects to one another. During my project about the irregular settlements in Tijuana, I and the interns had engaged in a deep conversation discussing whether providing a large amount of aid(money) to poor people is really benefiting them or is it just creating dependency. I felt that giving too much aid to a people would definitely cause them to be dependent and they would just think that they wouldn’t have to work hard to get themselves out of situations because they would be so reliant on the aid from other people. My mentor Katie Rast decided to have us explore more on this project and she found an author by the name of Dambisa Moyo. Dambisa is an author of a book that explains her perspective and ideas about what the aid is doing to the people in Africa. Form the statistics that she gathered she had came to a conclusion that the more aid that is being given to Africa is creating more poverty. The reason was for various reasons but one of the main reasons was that the governments in Africa were very corrupt and they were stealing the money and not getting it to the people. After gathering information from her point of view and our point of views about that situation we decided to come up with the best possible solutions for Africa. We couldn’t really come up with a lot of solutions because the situation in Africa is so complicated that a solution to one problem would only cause another problem. My opinion was that in order for Africa to come out of poverty they would need someone to come in and give them a structure on how to run a nation because Africa has the resources. Also there was an idea that they should find a way to get the money to the small businesses in Africa and have them expand and get the economy going. A lot of different ideas and opinions were brought up and discussed in this conversation that we had but Africa is in such a complicated situation that it was hard for us to come up with one solution.


random ideas
Submitted by azriahrox on Thu, 2009-05-14 10:01.

so today while i was listening to the head of H design talk i had a few ideas

the first was

a portable cooking system based on a very durable rubber, so my idea was
we could use this plastic make a kinda furnace design that is very portable with a metal tray and smoke filtration i have a diagram i shall upload later

other ideas

use compression of shrubbery and paper to make coal like burning substance for portable cooker

use high level magnification to light stoves in areas like Africa

use 2 irons and a solar panel and a metal peice to make a $24 stove top that is portable and can be broken down

also add a filter to the hippo roller


africa notes
Submitted by azriahrox on Tue, 2009-05-12 11:20.

culture, communication, money, religion are what devide people (kayla)

fear devides people and unite africa under a union – Azriah ROX

money seperates people, depend on a society and how things are set up.

social stats money communication, fear of the unkown -Ben

power divides people

Posted July 9th, 2009.

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Colina Park Quality of Life Plan

We have been working as a part of the Colina Park Neighborhoods First Initiative, and have recently been appointed as the lead organization for Youth and Educational Opportunities; “expanding teen programs and to supplement academic and educational pursuits; including opportunities to explore career options”, as well as “holding arts workshops at arts/cultural events so community members can interact with art”.

Through the Neighborhoods First Initiative, we have broadened our reach within the community, and produced visibility events in collaboration with other community-based organizations, reaching out to hundreds of residents at once.

This has been an involved process over the past 8 months, but a rewarding experience all around.cp_plan_early_act

Posted July 3rd, 2009.

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Sol Summer Nights Community Event

As the result of a Neighborhoods First Early Action Grant, the HOF Fab Lab was able to produce a curriculum to be used in workshops held at Crawford High School. In June we produced a community event called Sol Summer Nights to showcase these efforts that included the partnership and collaborative efforts of many community partners.

The workshops held at Crawford discussed the idea of appropriating technology, and introduced expressive projects based around the ‘Fab Tag’ program, which teaches concepts related to technology, including computing and multimedia production while allowing students to play with these tools in a non-threatening way.

I wanted to ‘open’ the process of presenting these projects by inviting other community organizations to be a part of the event. This proved to be beneficial for many reasons, and brought together Crawford High School, City Heights CDC, LISC, Boulevard Improvement Association, the Media Arts Center, TranscenDance and the IRC.

The challenge of planning and organization this program, with the collaborative effort of other community partners was a consuming undertaking, but one that continues to teach me valuable lessons about community organizing.

I contacted local media to promote the event broadly, and CityBeat was very supportive, and wrote a brief on the event:CityBeat: “The Kids Are Alright”

Additionally, our work was formally recognized by Councilmember Marti Emerald in a statement of support.

Crawford HS students are the media technicians while dancers perform

Crawford HS students are the media technicians while dancers perform

Kids from the audience 'write with light' using the FabTag while the dancers perform

Kids from the audience 'write with light' using the FabTag while the dancers perform

Event attendees sit down after dinner to watch performances

Event attendees sit down after dinner to watch performances

Posted July 2nd, 2009.

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Maker Faire 2009

In May we traveled to Maker Faire in San Jose, CA. This event is the largest collection of makers and DIY enthusiasts in North America. This venue is an outstanding place to connect with followers of the Fab concept from all over the country, although the Faire primarily pulls from California. This year’s Faire had 70,000 people in attendance.

The HOF Fab Lab was there representing the Fab Lab network with a workstation-style presentation, allowing attendees to make something of their own design. We drove additional attention to the Fab Lab installation by pairing with Freeline skates, an innovative extreme sports skate designed by a local inventor and HOF Fab Lab member. The skaters rode throughout the crowds, passing out flyers and driving people back to our booth.

We also worked with Kenji Kondo of NextFab / Fab@Home to presented the Fabber, a 3D printer that has been a fantastic teaching tool at the Lab. the Fabber is a built it yourself kit that makes 3D printing affordable and accessible, and it drew a steady crowd of curious makers.

From this event, we had hundreds of new subscribers sign on to our mailing list, others purchased memberships or donated to the program. We also received a spot on Make TV.

Endless crowds.

maker_faire_moustacheHey kid, did you fab the ‘stache?

Posted July 1st, 2009.

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Fab Tag at the San Diego Lyceum Theatre

The Fab Tag, a program developed through the Fab Lab with Fabiola Hanna has shown up in some interesting places lately after catching the attention of kids, geeks and artists. In this case, it was integrated into a play by Pose 2 called ‘Graffiti Life’. Pictures below are by Chris Keeney.

Fab Tag at the Lyceum Theatre

Fab Tag at the Lyceum Theatre

Fab Tag in 'Graffiti Life', the play

Fab Tag in 'Graffiti Life', the play

Posted July 1st, 2009.

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