Unravel the Code 2014 Archive

Welcome to the archive of the 2014 Unravel the Code course at MICA taught be Annet Couwenberg and Ryan Hoover. The website dfabresearch.com serves as a hub for the current research-based courses at MICA’s Digital Fabrication Studio. An archive of all of these classes can be found at dfabresearch.com/archive. This site is still live; it has simply been move and will likely not be updated too much from this point on. We are looking forward to running this course again in the Fall 2015. We hope that you will check that out too.

-Ryan Hoover

Final Slide Presentation Format

Slides Format for Final Presentation

Format each slide as a standard landscape letter page and upload all 8 pages as a single PDF by Monday at 5:00.

  1. Title Slide
    • project title
    • name
    • major/program with expected graduation year
    • url to Creative Process Journal (CPJ)
    • ◙ photo of yourself
  2. Inspiration
    • what experience, problem, or opportunity inspired this work?
    • ◙ an image of what inspired you
  3. Research Question
    • state your research question
    • ◙ image that illustrates your question
  4. Research on existing work and technical influence
    • who/what influenced your approach to your work?
    • ◙ image of influential work
  5. Methodologies and Skills
    • what new skills did you have to learn in pursuit of this research?
    • ◙ image from your process of skill building
  6. Process
    • explain your fabrication process
    • ◙ image from your fabrication process
  7. Results
    • What is the answer to your research question
    • ◙ image that supports your conclusion
  8. Acknowledgments
    • bibliography
    • thank you acknowledgements
    • ◙ optional image

Exploring the Dutch Design Week!

It has been 6 weeks of formal classroom sessions, examining various formats and participating in speaker series. From Lars Spuybroek to Andy Payne, we systematically journeyed through the ecology of design and let Firefly light up our inner creativity. Rhino and Grasshopper made an appearance as CAD softwares for 3D rendering of our projects. We learnt origami and weaving from a mathematician and a professional weaver from Philadelphia. All this led up to the international trip which was a part of our curriculum.

We flew to Rotterdam, Holland to witness the Dutch Design Week and meet students from the Willem De Kooning and Technical University in Eindhoven. The experience was phenomenal for most and interesting for others.

Megan found the solution to her product problem in the form of a bioplastic which was being developed in Netherlands. She extended her stay to attend a Bioplastic Conference consisting of Engineers, Designers, Artists, Chemists. She attended the graduate exhibits at the Design Academy and found them professionally rendered.  According to her, the students are “true artists”. She was paired with a Fashion and a Lifestyle Designer to work on a combined project using Knitting with Electrical Engineering. They knitted a piece incorporating a restricted wire and LED’s to portray brightness of the sun in Rotterdam and Baltimore.

Project 3


Will was fascinated with the Hi-tech campus and Innovation Centre. He also believed that he had an attentive audience when he spoke about his work, as there is a higher receptiveness to artists in their culture. The exhibition at the Dutch Design Week was a highlight of his trip and he appreciated the process they employed for completing their design work.

Project 1

The social aspect of Holland was shared by Alex where his first memories were of getting up early and sleeping late. Harrison, Will and Alex ended up exploring Rotterdam on foot while sampling the local cuisine. He enjoyed the architecture of the Willem De Kooning building as well as the Markthal. The Markthal is an arch shaped building with apartments and a marketplace in the center with a mural painted throughout the interior. They also saw an impromptu tap dance performance with clarinet and bass guitar accompanying the girl dancing. The overall experience of design and the symmetry that he saw provided him ideas for his final thesis. On the flight back, they actually flew over Greenland and he was fascinated with the stark landscape which he now wants to trek and photograph.


The trip was successful and an interesting cultural experience with creative learning and renditions!


Presentation for Electronics 2.

Electronics 2c Presentation PDF

LM324op amp



Code for square wave oscillator:

// code to make 500Hz square wave
int const outpin = 8;

void setup() {

pinMode(outpin, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
digitalWrite(outpin, HIGH);
digitalWrite(outpin, LOW);


Code for analog in to PWM out:

// code to make PWM out from analog in

int const input_pin = 0;
int const output_pin = 8;
int val1 = 0;
int val2 = 0;

void setup()
pinMode(output_pin, OUTPUT);

void loop()
val1 = analogRead(input_pin);
val2 = val1 * 5 / (3.3 * 4);
Serial.print(“input = “);
Serial.print(” output = “);
analogWrite(output_pin, val2);

Register for Modelab

Modelab 09/03/14

Link to Register for Modelab:


Steps to Register:

- Put in your User Name and your MICA email ID and you will receive an email

- Click on the link in the email and put in your User Name and the Password provided

- You will be redirected to the page http://modelab.is/education/

- Scroll down to the end of the page and click on ‘Contact’ in the right hand corner. Fill in the details and request access to all resources as a MICA student

Andy Payne Lecture



Maryland Institute College of Art | Fred Lazarus IV Lecture Hall
October 1st, 2:30-3:30

Architects have had a long engagement with the idea of making devices which can extend their capacity and ability to manage problems and forms that would not be possible otherwise. Starting with the Baroque, as designs became ever more complex, architects needed to supplement their design knowledge with precise geometrical and mathematical procedures and instruments. Such tools, such as the Geometric Pen designed by Giambattista Suardi (1752) gave architects the ability to experimentally expand the range of visual geometry. The Geometric Pen was a compound drawing instrument which was used to create circles, conics, and more complex epicycles and hypocycles. Through the permutation of different geared disks, Suardi’s device had the ability to generate over 1,700 distinct curves with specific aesthetic and topological properties, opening the vast aesthetic possibilities of mechanical systems.

Experimentalists have expanded on this type of thinking over the last 250 years; developing completely new classes of combinatorial design tools. However, more recently we have seen a shift away from the purely mechanical to the digital where new software tools allow the exploration of an almost unlimited space of parametric permutations. In this presentation, architect and computational designer Andrew Payne will look at the trajectory of tool making and its impact on the field of design and how new techniques are giving designers the ability to explore virtual and physical prototypes with unprecedented fluidity.

Andrew Payne is the co-founder and lead developer of Firefly – software plug-in dedicated to bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds. Firefly allows near real-time data flow between the digital parametric environment of Rhino/Grasshopper with physical input/output devices, programmable microcontrollers (like the popular Arduino) and other data acquisition devices. It leverages Grasshopper’s visual programming environment as a new model for microcontroller programming, making it ideal for visually oriented professionals such as architects and designers who prefer creating programs by manipulating elements graphically rather than by specifying them textually.

Andrew is a registered architect and senior building information specialist at Case-Inc. He holds a doctoral degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He currently lives and works in Greenville, SC.