Stanford Summer Institutes Final Project

Yesterday we went on a field trip to the Exploratorium in San Francisco where we saw many fascinating exhibits. For our final project we are supposed to come up with a design for a new exhibit the museum could offer. We will write a proposal and design document, blog about what our exhibit will look like, have a running demo, and present the exhibit. In the end we will demonstrate concepts or algorithms we learned in class. Three ideas I have for projects I may want to work on include:

1. My first idea is related to the prisoner’s dilemma. It forces the user to make a rational decisions to help him/herself and maybe his/her partner. From this experience users will learn the importance of making rational decisions to help themselves. this prototype can’t be watched, it must be experienced. The user will choose whether to help his/her user or not, knowing that it will affect the impact on his/her result also. This experience is similar to the 2-way water fountain at the Exploratorium. There both users select if they want to give the other person a squirt of water or a sip of water. If both users select “sip” then both get a sip of water. If user 1 chooses “squirt” for user 2 and user 2 chooses “sip”, or vice versa, then one will get a sip while the other gets a squirt. If both users choose “squirt” then both get nothing. You can check out the exhibit here:

I drew this example to help:

pd2. Another project I’d like to work on is related to finite state machines. I think that finite state machines are very interesting, especially since they are used in our everyday lives more than people think. From the exhibit, users will learn how useful finite state machines are in addition to how commonplace they are. Users could either interact with a program that behaves like a finite state machine or watch a video to learn where and how they are used. The Exploratorium currently has no exhibits about finite state machines, but it is a very easy concept to teach children about. It is similar to exhibits they have with a limited number of states. Here is a very basic diagram of a door: 

fsmThere are examples of finite state machines all over! Anything from a traffic light to a turnstile to a vending machine to a railroad network. 

3. Another topic I’m interested in is the empathy game. Can a game or simulation teach people to be empathetic? Can empathy be learned? From this experience people will learn how they can be effected by their surroundings. It must be interactive to get people to understand the impact of games or experiences on their emotions. My design would fit into the Exploratorium pretty well. It is similar to the colored helmet-thing that you put over your head and id supposed to make you feel different emotions for each color. 



A diagram I created:






8 thoughts on “Stanford Summer Institutes Final Project”

  1. I think the second idea is pretty cool and unique. The third one I’d feel would be a challenge to implement with the tools we have now but it’s a great idea/concept!


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