Students Design and create button electronics!

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Students use 3D modeling software to create the hollow buttons to house the electronics and become touch sensitive.  The map shaped buttons will trigger information and media on an LCD screen, while the round buttons will represent the academic institutions in town and light up when touched.

Students Continue Working on Map


Students work to design and slice out the roads from maple veneer which will then be glued to the surface carefully.

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Under the tutelage of Mr. Corrigan, students continue their work on the map by sanding and preparing the surface for a clear coat and maple laminate that will be used to define the major roadways through the town.


Once sanded, the roads are again carefully laid out and prepared to become glued.

Work Begins on the Geometric Map


The three dimensional geometric map of Farmington is a great example of how the creative process is always changing and much more organic than a rigid plan.  It allows for inspiration, ingenuity, and innovation.

The original idea of the project was to project images normally of course, however instead of simply projecting onto a wall or screen an idea was suggested to project onto a more three dimensional surface.  An object that could refract and accept different images or abstractions of an original image on different planar surfaces.

Challenge Accepted!

We decided to create a smaller sibling map of the larger map, repeating the map motif again would call on repetition and unify the project better while offering different ways to understand how you can envision a map, and allow connections to more abstract aesthetics.  A smaller and simpler version of one of the designs for the earlier posters was used to create a 3-Dimensional model. From there, angles and measurements were calculated and production began!

Sensor Locations Chosen


4d9a53da-5895-4dd5-a356-8a21a418cc5bIn a letter from Jay Johnston head of the Farmington Public Library we recieved this:

  Paul said yesterday that you are looking for some sort of list of historic sites in town, in order to place them on a digital map, and that they should number ten or so.  Correct?
   If so,  three of us sat down and came up with a list of 18 that have some significance to local history.  There is no way we can narrow the list down to only ten, so you will have to pick and choose if you want only ten.  Here are our suggestions:
        for ancient history:
  1. the Indian burial ground, which is off Meadow Road near New Britain Ave.
        for the 1600s:
  1. the meadows – the reason the English came here
  2. the Farmington River (Tunxis Sepus) – the other reason people settled here
  3. one of the oldest structures in town – either the Elm Tree Inn, or Leach’s house, or the Gleason House (Stacia Balazy’s), or the Grist Mill
        for the 1700s:
  1. the Stanley-Whitman House
  2. the Main Street burial ground – Memento Mori
  3. the church/meetinghouse on Main St.
  4. the West District stone schoolhouse
        for the 1800s:
  1. Hospital Rock
  2. the Farmington Canal Aqueduct
  3. an Amistad site – either the barn at 127 Main St., or the store on Maiden Lane
  4. a factory mill site in Unionville – probably the best remaining one (one of the few that still has old buildings) would be Upson Nut Co. on Mill Street
  5. a Miss Porter’s School site – either the original schoolhouse on Mountain Rd. or the 60 Main Street “Main” building
  6. the Academy
        for the 1900s:
  1. Hill-Stead
  2. OldGate, 148 Main Street – for the Cowles-Roosevelt connection
  3. Yodkins-Morin park, in memory of the flood of 1955
  4. UConn Health Center

So after discussing with the students and asking Carl Johnson, a history teacher here at FHS, we decided on several of the locations that would work well to format with the sensors to provide information.

The map above shows the locations numbered in blue.  These locations will trigger images and video associated with the location.  The Yellow star bursts are to represent the 9 major schools within the town and as places of learning, development, and growth these buttons will light up when pressed.

High School Arduino Workshop Pt. 2

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After soldering for a few days and working out any bugs with the electronic side of the arduino creation Balam returns for a visit to explain the programming side of microcontrollers!  The arduino’s are hooked up to the computers via USB cables and the fun begins.  Arduino code language is an open source software, so it’s free to everyone, and can be downloaded to your computer easily.  Once downloaded it offers a simple interface to begin creating written code.


Students learn some simple code and before long they have working LED lights and a light sensor that turns the lights on and off.  Now we can begin to understand how electronics will be worked into the map project and create a lot of different interactions that the viewer will be part of.

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High School Arduino Workshop Pt. 1


Artist in residence for the project, Balam Soto, works with students to explain how electronics and technology play in integral part in the creation of many forms of art.  At the heart of responsive and interactive artwork is the sensors and actuators.  These can easily be controlled by an Arduino or similar device.


An arduino is just a type of microcontroller.  Or essentially a tiny, affordable computer.  It can be coded and programmed to deal with data both collected from sensors and attached and given out to actuators in order to make something happen.  Like light, sound, and movement.  This small device can then be embedded easily within a project, sculpture, or in this case the map!


Students learn to solder and work with new materials within the art classroom, opening many doors and possibilities for their creative exploration and linking the arts with outside disciplines.


Map Construction Ep. 3

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Instead of having a perfectly flat map the students decided to explore the topographical maps of the area and construct layered rises to represent the higher levels of the town, although largely the town remains flat.  Images and patterns were drawn and sketched out.  Wood was cut and methods for attaching the layers to the map were discussed.


Along with working up, the applied arts students took the map to carve out the Farmington River where it runs through the town.  This being an important feature everyone agreed it needed special treatment.  A panel with different grain was pegged in behind it to help make the river stand out.