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Stanford d.school

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An intensive 2 day session using Noam as a prototyping tool for design projects.

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In March 2014, the Noam team taught a “pop-up” class at the Stanford d.school. Titled Look Mom, I Hacked the Refrigerator, this intensive two-day session brought 28 students together to create two design projects, each using Noam as a prototyping tool. While no refrigerators were harmed along the way, the process and results were really cool.

Over 100 students applied for a spot in the class, and the resulting multidisciplinary teams included mechanical and electrical engineers, computer scientists, product designers, and a journalist. With experience levels ranging from a Junior to a PhD Computer Science candidate planning on a career as a professor. For the Noam team, this group of students represented what we refer to at IDEO extreme users—people at the end of a bell-curve, whose demanding standards and needs can turbocharge the learning curve of a growing project like Noam.

Over six hours on a Saturday, teams of four students each used Noam to create hardware-software prototypes such as:

  • an RC-car controlled by a hacked iPhone average coloro off the floor
  • a robotic xylophone controlled by conductive cookie dough
  • a Kinect-enabled, danceable, life-sized piano on the floor

By watching these prototyping experts kick the tires of the alpha version of Noam, the teaching team learned a tremendous amount about the product. And the reaction from the students was overwhelmingly positive:

  • “Starting from nothing Saturday morning, and ending up with a working prototype in four hours was amazing.”
  • “I realized that I can hack stuff together pretty quickly and that prototypes can gain minimum functionality within hours.”
  • “Go ahead and explore whatever hardware or software you want to use—Noam makes it easy to talk across them!”
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