The Maker Movement is about digging in, improvising, innovating and learning from mistakes. On Saturday, March 29, four of us from the Media Lab — all staff members, not students or research scientists — will roll up our sleeves and steer visitors to PEM’s new Maker Lounge through a Circuit Stickers workshop.

Circuit Stickers  are the creation of MIT Media Lab PhD student Jie Qi. They’re electronic stickers that can be used to build glowing, sensing and interactive projects quickly and easily. No complicated equipment or programming skills required. We’ve set up a few starter projects for Saturday’s workshops, but participants will find that the only limits to what they create are their own imaginations. We can’t wait to unroll the copper tape and start building circuits!

circuit stickers

Photos courtesy of Jie Qi



But, you might be wondering, why are these people from MIT who are not engineers coming to lead a workshop on making circuits at an art museum?

The Media Lab’s collaboration with PEM began a little over year ago when PEM’s Chief of Education and Interpretation, Juliette Fritsch, and I met at a technology conference in Austin, Texas. After a few conversations there, and a few back in Massachusetts, we discovered fertile ground for collaborative projects between our two organizations.

At first look, it might seem like the similarities between an academic research lab and an art museum would be pretty few and far between. In some ways, sure. But at a very elemental level, PEM and the Lab are both organizations about exploration. PEM founders explored the world at great risk and expense, returning to Salem and sharing their exotic and unique treasures – as its curators continue to do today.

Media Lab researchers explore how we’ll live in the future by pushing the limits of what we can do with technology and science. How do these relate? Juliette and I think it has a lot to do with mutual commitments to experimentation, learning, fun, innovation and creativity. The Maker Lounge at PEM, and the Lab’s participation in it is a great example of these ideas put into practice.

We can’t wait to welcome visitors to the Maker Lounge to experiment with our Circuit Stickers and talk more about the MIT Media Lab and the research that goes on there.

Keep an eye out for future plans including an event at the museum in the fall!  In the meantime, see the PEM calendar for a list of opening day activities.

stacieStacie Slotnick is assistant director of communications at the MIT Media Lab. @eicats

One Comment

  1. I visited the museum and the Maker Lab recently. No one was in the Maker Lab and I do not see events being scheduled on the PEM calendar. Are there non-calendar events or a schedule of days that the area is staffed? I have been reading and taking online classes that talk about maker labs but hope to see one in action and with people- not just kids but adults and lifelong learners and seniors. Sandra Darling

Leave a Comment