Tiny Tinkering Platforms

Ian Bogost
Tom Jenkins, Andrew Byrd

We are creating platforms that help people solve small-scale problems in their everyday lives. Here, gratification comes not from making something new and remarkable to show off to the world, but in making something unremarkable that nevertheless feels important to an individual or small community. When to water a particular plant, when hot coffee has reached a preferred temperature, when the mail has been delivered, and so on.

We aim for an ecosystem that reduces hardware engineering complexity for small-scale, ubiquitous problems like these. It allows novices to prototype solutions quickly and straightforwardly. Today's "maker" platforms are priced for enthusiasts rather than ordinary people. Our platform needs to be very inexpensive to encourage applications that are never meant to be cherished. A focus on getting something done rather than on doing it.


The Public Design Workshop is pedagogical structure created to explore new ways to teach, learn, and do social design within the university. We explore how design contributes to the construction of publics, articulates contemporary social and political issues, and fosters new forms of engagement with technology. We do this through participatory workshops & events, speculative design, and theory & criticism. We design events, workshops, objects, and systems. We also do theory and criticism.We are always open to new collaborators.Current topics of interest include: food and food systems, hackathons, infrastructure, visualizations, tools, and maps.