Week 2: Rube’s No More

This week our attention was primarily focused on ideation and brainstorming for our eventual Rube Goldberg machine. We generated a long list of 100+ different short descriptions of possibilities, filtered out into, narrative-driven, experience-driven, and art-driven in order to diversify perspective.

Once we had this list coming out of the weekend we went through subsequent rounds of narrowing this list down to a top six, then a top three ideas, diving a little deeper into potential interactions and guest experiences. Because of the strong narrative focus of Rube Goldberg cartoons, we felt that this was the strongest lens to look at our ideas through.

Ultimately, the three ideas that we developed out into pitches for our client were: A simple way to scoop ice cream, a simple way to send a love letter, and a simple way to win a game of chess. Summaries of the interactions that we had planned out can be found below.

Mapping out the “Simple way to win a game of chess”
Mapping out a “Simple way to get a scoop of ice cream”
Mapping out a “Simple way to send a love letter”

This week we also met with Anne from the Children’s Museum, who introduced us to Toby, an exhibit designer at the museum, and Jennifer George, Rube Goldberg’s granddaughter. She currently runs the non-profit that represents his legacy, runs competitions, and develops Rube Goldberg-influenced lessons. 

She opened by giving us a ton of helpful information about Rube’s work and how he went about crafting his stories, and how to think about chaining together humorous interactions. As we presented our pitches to her and Anne she made recommendations for each about how she thought they could be made stronger through honing in on a more specific, smaller scoped narrative, or incorporating more outrageous, and absurd connections that remain contextual to the task at hand.

Based on the response that we received from pitching these ideas, we feel strongly that any of them could work in the space. There is some concern about some of the themes connecting with the audience of 9-15. Some alterations would need to be made, especially to the chess concept to ensure that any references to chess are clearly understood by anyone despite their knowledge of the game.

At the end of the week we sat down with two of the members of the Conix Research Center that is responsible for developing ARENA. They gave us a lot of information about what ARENA is exactly capable of and what it really excels at. We’re still trying to determine what AR platform that we hope to use. However, the ready access that we’ve received from the team after being invited to join their Slack makes it really promising. We’re a little nervous about it because we’d have to do a lot of learning on the fly and we don’t have as much familiarity with Python on the team to develop with.

Next week our plan is to focus in on which of the pitch ideas we want to pursue and also build out a golden spike within ARENA in order to assess first hand whether or not we feel we can accomplish the project in the platform.