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04.30.13 - DATspace: Art of Creation

Physics major Cole Roberts creates innovation.


It might not be immediately obvious to the uninitiated but play-doh, electronic music, mini terrariums, crocheting and soldering do have something in common. To the founders of DATspace, all are pathways to creativity and innovation.

DATspace – Design, Art and Technology – is as much concept as location. Influenced by the Makerspace movement and founded as an undergraduate organization, DATspace is now supported by the Calit2/UROP Multidisciplinary Design Program.

The goal is to provide undergraduates with a relaxing, stress-free venue and the necessary materials for letting their imaginations run wild. The result, organizers say, is the creation and implementation of innovative ideas.

“Our belief is that interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation happen when people produce prototypes in a social setting,” according to the project’s description on the MDP website.

Left: an electronic bicycle. Right: LED geometry. Organization founder Vahan Hartooni
says this is the first quarter the workshops have been held at Calit2 and "it has been a wonderful venue.
The support we've received from the Calit2 staff has been phenomenal."

Workshops have included sewing, building Arduinos, creating electronic music, embroidering, brewing espresso and engineering play-doh circuits. Earlier this month, the group hosted a free-form soldering workshop in the Calit2 Building’s MDP lab. About a dozen students constructed art ranging from metallic robots to LED geometrics, and from a “capacitor-man” to an electronic bicycle.


Information and computer sciences majors Amy Lim (left) and Daniel Hirsch
participate in the fun. (Photos: Vahan Hartooni and Ivan Check.)

Computer science and engineering student Vahan Hartooni, one of the club’s founders (the others are Nicholas LaJeuness, Rachel Rose Ulgado and Ivan Check), organizes many of the workshops. “I put in the time and effort because I’m passionate about facilitating the need for individuals to be more expressive and creative with technology,” he says. “What I always enjoy seeing at the end of every workshop is … unexpected creations.”

Xbee radio modules are the focus of the next workshop, scheduled 5-8 p.m. Thursday, May 9, in the MDP lab. All undergraduates are welcome.

-- Anna Lynn Spitzer