Polymathic Making Workshops, Fall 2019

Join us this semester at the Ahmanson Lab for a series of hands-on workshops on Arduino and Raspberry Pi microcontrollers, 3D modeling and printing, augmented reality applications, generative visual coding, neural networks and more. Workshops in our Polymathic Making series are for a general audience and require no prior programing skills or technical expertise.

All workshops in this series will be held on Tuesday afternoons from 3:00-4:30pm in the Ahmanson Lab, Leavey Library (Map).

RSVP to reserve your place at one or more of these workshops.

Introduction to 3D Printing and the Makerbot Replicator (5th Gen.)

Learn how 3D printers work, how to create and print your own 3D model, and how you can use the Ahmanson Lab's Makerbot Replicator.

September 3, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

After a discussion of recent advancements and affordances of 3D printing technology, participants will make their own 3D model and prepare it for 3D printing. After the workshop, Ahmanson Lab staff will print participants’ models and have them available within a few days. 

Drone + Photogrammetry

Fly a drone; make some 3D objects.

September 10, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301


This workshop will give students hands-on experience with a commercial-grade drone and introduce them to the techniques of photogrammetry. Participants will have the opportunity to fly a Phantom 4 Advanced drone, capture high-definition video of campus, and get an overview of the methods for rendering three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional data.

Introduction to Unity

Learn Unity to build simple games.

September 17, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

This workshop will serve as an intorduction to Unity, a popular game-engine for designing and building games that can be deployed on desktop, mobile or VR/AR consoles. Participants will become familiar with the Unity interface, game objects and components, and will use the basic functions they learn to build a simple but exciting game. Basic coding experience is required.

Practical Arduino

Learn how to work with Arduino microcontrollers.

September 24, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

Microcontrollers are compact computers in the form of single integrated circuits that can be embedded in anything from appliances to robots. Participants at this workshop will learn about the applications of microcontrollers, from manufacturing and entrepreneurship to DIY and hacker cultures, and learn how to implement them in their own projects.

Wearable Technology

Learn how to embed small sensors in clothing and jewelry.

October 1, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

The miniaturization of electronics has allowed us to make clothing and jewelry that respond to our health, motion, and thoughts. After an overview of several commercially available sensors and devices, students will learn methods to attach small electronics to clothing, using Arduino.

Get your own climate data

Learn how to log and chart climate data on a portable computer.

October 15, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

Crowdsourced scientific efforts can often give scientists more data and computing power for novel approaches to their fields. After learning about a few citizen science projects, students will assemble and program a small credit card sized computer that logs temperature and humidity.

Augmented Reality for Beginners

Learn about Augmented Reality and build your own AR application.

October 22, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

Augmented Reality (AR) allows you to overlay digital content on top of real-world objects when viewed through a camera on a cell phone or tablet. Participants will get an introduction to AR and learn how to create a very cool and very simple AR application on their own! We will use Unity and Vuforia (a popular game development engine) to build this application. Absolutely no coding required.

Digital Rights

Get tech woke.

November 5, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

In the U.S., the deregulation of the corporate surveillance industry and the executive branch’s disregard for judicial oversight have created institutional juggernauts with outsized power on culture, mind, economy, and society. In this workshop, students will learn about their digital rights, and how they can try to take agency and ownership of their own data.

Deep-fake Detection

Learn methods and tools for detecting deepfakes.

November 12, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

This workshop will introduce students to the field of digital forensics and offer best practices and technological methods for spotting AI-generated fake media online. In addition, participants will get hands-on training with available tools for detecting deepfakes.


Learn how to make content for the VR web.

November 19, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

New web standards have allowed for interactive 3D websites, potentially removing barriers of production and distribution for networked VR applications and content. In this workshop students will learn about these recent advances and make their own 3D website.

Applied Neural Networks

Learn the basics of neural nets.

December 3, 3:00-4:30pm
Ahmanson Lab | LVL 301
RSVP for this workshop.

A neural network is a set of algorithms, modeled on the human brain, designed to discover and "learn" patterns within massive data sets. These networks are powering a new generation of artificial intelligence and are responsible for radical recent advancements in facial recognition, surveillance, autonomous vehicles, and synthesized speech systems. Participants in this workshop will explore simple neural networks and learn how their algorithms work.