Gadget Lab Programs

Welcome to Gadget Lab

Gadget Lab operates under the premise that the world is a giant laboratory of joy and learning. While we sometimes use 3D printers and computers, our main goal is to find the magic in ordinary things, then tear them apart and see how they work.

We go in as deeply as we safely can to explore objects that we use everyday but often take for granted.  So how does that battery make electricity?  And why does your ceiling fan spin?  We answer questions like this in the Gadget Lab Academy workshops for kids, and in the Bread and Circuits series for adults.

While the core workshops are found in the Gadget Lab Academy and Gadget Lab Prep programs, we offer additional programming in sewn circuits, ukulele and amplifier making and more.  We keep expanding what we do because we can’t help ourselves.  The world is an even more glorious place when you take a deeper look inside.

Gadget Lab Academy Ages 9 and Up

Gadget Lab Academy offers three core workshop series that are not your typical robotics program. These workshops examine how every day objects work from the inside out. You learn how a battery creates electricity before you use one.  You learn why a motor spins before you work with motors. You get the idea. The three core programs together are like a mini degree program  – without the homework.  In GadgetHeads we focus on the physical world  of circuits and their components.  In CodeHeads we learn about computer code and use it to make physical circuits come to life. In EngineHeads we learn about engines, gears, crankshafts and basic mechanical principles. A more detailed description of each program is below.  For younger kids, we offer  Gadget Lab Prep  which offers carefully selected projects that involve the same concepts as those in explored in the Gadget Lab Academy but in a simpler format.

Click the links below for descriptions of our Gadget Lab Academy programs:

Gadget Lab Prep

GadgetHeads PrepThis fun hands on workshop covers all the topics from the regular  Gadget Heads program but in a simpler format. Learn about electricity, circuits magnetism and mechanics  by making a  rigged out cigar box house for your tiny “Power Pet”.  Make a floating magnet sculpture, sew a light-up “Power Bracelet” and more. CodeHeads Prep Use  drag and drop programming using Scratch, Hummingbird Robotics and Finch robot to teach programming logic. Make programs and games that trigger outputs in the physical world using sensors, motors, LEDS, buzzers and more.  The last lessons will use a pre-programmed board to see the actual code behind the drag and drop interface – because this is Gadget Lab where we dig down to see what’s happening underneath, even with code!

Other Gadget Lab Workshops

Sewn CircuitsThis one day workshop uses conductive thread and sew on LED to make a super cool light up pencil case. Workshops to make more complex sewn circuits that are controlled by a small Arduino micro-controller are in the works. Ukulele MakingIn this workshop you’ll make a beautiful, working ukulele out of a recycled cigar box. You’ll learn how to safely use a saw, a power drill and clamps. You’ll also learn about stringed instrument construction and how to adjust the intonation.  And of course, you’ll get an introduction on how to play your gorgeous new uke! 2D Design in VinylLearn the basics of 2 dimensional, vector based graphic design to design stickers, fold-up shapes (machine-cut oragami-like creations), logos, t-shirt designs and more. Then bring your creations into the real world using a CNC (computer numerical control) vinyl cutter. Anticipated take-home items include a vinyl sticker in the shape of the student’s name, a fold-up nightlight/small lamp, a personal logo sticker designed by the student, and a t-shirt with the student’s personal logo design on it.