Beam Camp is a New Hampshire summer camp where children learn about craft and teamwork through activities that involve storytelling, building, and engineering. Every year Beam commissions original, large-scale collaborative projects that serve as centerpieces of each session. The projects must be complex enough to keep over one-hundred children busy for at least fifty hours. We wanted to design a unique and ambitious project that would encourage the campers to learn new skills, think creatively, and collaborate.
We created Jambox, a project that requires campers to work together to program, build, and play interactive musical instruments. To make Jambox, campers must first record themselves playing various instruments. Their performances are recorded on SD cards, which are then plugged into Arduinos. The campers connect each Arduino to a speaker, LEDs, and a touch sensor, which are then placed inside a wooden box. The sensor acts as a switch; touching it will cause the LEDS to light up and the music to play. Once the boxes are built, the campers can arrange and stack them in an infinite number of ways, creating a rambunctious outdoor orchestra. Jambox encourages a sense of playfulness and experimentation—there are no right or wrong arrangements—and the project also fosters collaboration and creative thinking, as the campers must decide on the kind of noise they want to make and work together to produce their collective musical masterpiece.
Partnerships & Community
Jambox was a proposal for Beam Summer Camp Projects 2013 and was selected as a finalist entry.