Meet Diego Thuler, one of our favorite makers! Recently he and his daughter, Luisa, constructed R2D2 Bitrobot. Watch the above video for a demonstration – it’s super impressive!
We were first wowed by Diego’s BitOlympics projects, Bit-foosball and Bit-athletics 100 meter race for Track & Field. Since then he’s uploaded dozens of unique projects made by children in his makerspace Chapter, Little Maker at Americana/Brazil! Here he is pictured with his wife, Denise, when they treated us with a visit to HQ:
I am based in Americana, São Paulo, Brazil
How would you describe yourself in an Ernest Hemingway-style novel? (6 words or less)
I’m an Engineer, Maker, Father and Education passionate.
What was your littleBits “a-ha!” moment? The moment you were bitten by the littleBits bug.
The story is quite long, I believe it was a process to get really captive by this bug. 🙂 As father and engineer I was always tuned in how technology could help in my kids education, but 3 facts turned my life upside-down:
- First, a friend sent me littleBits web-site link, at time I found it very nice but yet a tech-toy to play with my kids (and expensive for Brazilian reality)
- Two weeks later I read a news about a Finland Primary School that removed all toys and the kids should build your own toy with recycled material. I showed to a pedagogue friend and told how it should be improved with littleBits, she told me that nobody was doing that in Brazil.
- Excited by her feedback I started to study the Maker Movement in education in US and found out many references, one of them was Mitch Resnick, so I decided I should do something here. I passed my vacancies at Orlando and bought my first set of kits. When I saw my daughter of 7 yo playing with it I understood the power of these “little bits”! That was the moment!
After that it was clear that I really should open a maker space for kids, since then I learned a lot and refine the methodology. I founded Little Maker at Americana and 2 months later at 2 more cities (Campinas and Indaiatuba).
When starting a littleBits project, what does your design process look like?
My engineer side is not so organized as it should be but the educator side can’t avoid to follow the methodology I apply in my classes, even into my own projects! The process passes through these steps:
1. Ideation: design thinking, brain storming, scratches… Decide what to do and what it does.
2. Planning: choose materials, bits, make drawings, proof of concepts… Define how to do it.
3. Execution: experimentation, play, try, fail, try again, discussions, tinkering… Work hard, play hard! (Wiz Khalifa)
4. Proud: present, record, explain, share, enjoy… Consolidate all work done and be proud of it.
How has littleBits impacted you creatively?
It’s crazy, but it’s hard to think how it was before littleBits for me. I’m using littleBits for a year now, but so intensively (about 20 hours per week) that seems to be a life! I believe that the big change is that now I think more about what to do than how to do. With littleBits I can abstract the electronics complexity and try more, play more…
What do you plan on inventing next?
I have some projects in queue but they are always delayed by some new idea of my daughter or littleBits challenge (such as #BitWars), some of them are:
- Garden automation: basically it irrigates automatically and measure light during the day, then it shows a number of garden happiness.
- Pendulum clock swinger: I have a old pendulum clock that we must swing one a day, the idea is to detect when it stops and swing it again using a servo
- I want to work in a bitlab project too but I don’t have the idea yet, maybe a soil hygrometer sensor for my garden 🙂
Diego and his friends are always up for a game of Bit-foosball:
Before you go, be sure to check out the 100m dash, a project conceived by 3 Little Maker kids, Jamyle, Luisa and João!