Category Archives: Cool Toys Conversations

DIY Adult Coloring In the Library

The Shapiro Design Lab and THL collaborated on a hands on Design Your Own Coloring Book workshop last week. A repeat has been scheduled for February 11th, again in the Design Lab, and another version of the workshop will be included in the Teach Tech eMerge workshop series, Thursday, February 25 in North Quad. I had previously done this for the Cool Toys Conversations group, but I didn’t have slides for them.

The slides from last week’s workshop include a) an overview of the science behind the health claims for the adult coloring movement, educational examples and uses of coloring, and tools to create your own design; and b) image search examples and tips presented in the form of an alphabet coloring book. These two slide decks are available here:

Also, here are just a few sample images created for the workshop.

The Fleming Building at sunset:
The same image converted to a star mandala:
Another mandala:
A historic bookcover:
Hokusai’s Great Wave:

All of the samples are available as Creative Commons licensed images for free download with a free Flickr account.

New Year Surprises

You know the line “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing“?

Well, I can’t believe how little I’ve been here. I am absolutely SHOCKED that I haven’t blogged in over a MONTH! Of course, this is because I’ve been so gosh all darned busy, both at work and at home. Just briefly, what all is keeping me away is probably of interest to folk.

* Opioid Overdose Summit
* Microbes and Mood
* Design Lab & Coloring
* PaGamO (Gaming)
* Graphic Medicine
* Librarians & Artists’ Books
* Sleep Trackers


First, a couple days after the last post, I was a keynote for the November meeting of MDMLG (Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group). It was a wonderful experience, a great group. I really enjoyed being with them, and by all reports, they enjoyed my talk. There are rumors that I might repeat it locally, and I’ve been pondering maybe repeating it in a Hangout or something for other folk. Maybe. In any case, here are the slides!

But is an Emerging Technologies Informationist a Librarian?


Dashed away to visit family for the November holiday, dashed back, and immediately was livetweeting the UofM sponsored Opioid Overdose Summit. Another fantastic event! I’ve been working on a big beautiful Storify of the event for the last month, but the Storify platform developed a glitch and ate the whole thing. Unfortunately, the only engineer who MIGHT be able to restore the file from backup is out on vacation for another week, so for now I can offer you links to the UM Injury Center’s agenda, slides in Slideshare, their videos, and the hashtag #uminjuryctr.


The same week, I also livetweeted the seminar, “Gut Feelings: Microbes, Mood, & Metabolism” from the Depression Center’s Colloquium Series. It was a wonderful triple of presenters on how emerging and historic research is revealing connections between our microbiome (the bacteria that live in and on us) impact our own emotions. Powerful and exciting stuff.

I was making a Storify of this, too, but the same glitch (which prevent some content from being inserted and erases other content) has made it impossible for me to finish, so I’m releasing it in the raw form.


The following week I worked on various Storify stories in progress and had a bunch of meetings. One of the meetings was with the new Design Lab that lives on the main floor of the Shapiro Library, where we started planning a workshop which will sneakily use the adult coloring craze as a way to teach things like internet search skills, internet security, paper/art/book preservation concepts, some online tools and toys, etc. The workshop is happening next week, and I think it is going to be super cool. Just to whet your appetite, here is an example.

Original image:
Fleming Building at Sunset

Coloring version of the same image:
UM: Fleming


PaGamO Screenshot

I didn’t livetweet this, but I felt very lucky that I was able to attend the small presentation by Dr. Benson Yeh on PaGamO for education. The lecture was FANTASTIC and was recorded, so I am hoping for a video to be available soon. In the meantime, here are a few links.

Why one professor created the first-ever social gaming platform for a MOOC

ReImagine Education 2015 Wharton Awards: PAGAMO, The World’s First Event Multi-Student Social Gaming, National Taiwan University; Winner: 1st Place E-Learning

PaGamO: First-ever Multi-student Social Gaming Platform for General Course (SLIDES)

PaGamO, the world’s first ever MOOC-based multi-student social game platform


The next day, we had the first EVER meeting of the newly formed Graphic Medicine Interest Group for the University of Medicine. I took notes and lots of pictures, but the pictures did not end up in Flickr when I tried to put them there, so I have to hope they are in my hard drive backup for the phone. In the meantime, here is a picture of some of the graphic medicine titles I keep in my office when I have consults on the topic.

Graphic Medicine & Comics

Books included in this image:

1) REAL, by Takehiko Inoue
2) Graphic Medicine Manifesto, by by MK Czerwiec, Ian Williams, Susan Merrill Squier, Michael J. Green, Kimberly R. Myers, Scott T. Smith
3) The Bad Doctor, by Ian Williams
4) On Purpose, by Vic Strecher
5) Neurocomic, by Hana Ros, Matteo Farinella
6) Epileptic, by David B.
7) CancerVixen, by Marisa Acocella Marchetto |
8) Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, by Roz Chast
9) Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague, by Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli |
10) Diary of a Teenage Girl, by Phoebe Glockner |
11) The Spiral Cage, by Al Davison
12) Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud
13) Oh Joy, Sex Toy, by Erika Moen |
14) Chop, Sizzle, Wow, by The Silver Spoon and Adriano Rampazzo. |


A few days later, in between my frantically working on the Storifys and an article deadline, I was doublebooked to livetweet two lectures, and had to pick one. So, I picked the one that was related to the library and was being presented by friends and colleagues. It was incredible, and again I took lots of pictures that are hopefully on that other hard drive. I had been hoping to enrich the Storify with those, but that isn’t going to happen until Storify fixes their bug with inserting links into story streams. So, here is another partially completed Storify, this one on the amazing artists working in the library making phenomenal art books. Beautiful.


Pebble Pals

Last but not least, we finished and submitted our article on sleep trackers for consumers and how they may or may not be useful in healthcare. It was an exciting and rewarding project, but I don’t want to say too much until we hear if the article is accepted. It was a LOT of work, and we compared many dozens of devices and tools. Learned a lot, and I hope the article is accepted. I must confess, I found it ironic that my own sleep tracker (Pebble + Misfit) quit working over the holiday. Color me perplexed.


So you can see why I was so busy I wasn’t getting blogging done? I’ll be a little absent for a while yet, still, since I have a few presentations next week, and piles of meetings coming up. But I’ll have to tell you all about what I’m doing with comics and hashtags and coloring in a future installment. And the weird Storify glitch that is supposedly only impacting me and one other person. Hope you all had a great holiday and end-of-the-year, with expectations of a Happy (and productive and fulfilling) New Year!

Teach Feast: Engaged Learning Through Internships, Badges, e-Portfolios, & Storytelling

Teach Feast 2015: integrative tools for engagement at Michigan

I was invited as a last minute fill-in to be part of a panel at the annual Teach Feast festival of learning technologies at the University of Michigan. It was a great learning experience for me, and I hope also for the participants. I learned more about how engaged learning can be a continuum, incorporating relatively small or subtle changes to traditional instruction or going whole hog and literally uprooting a student from their culture and context and positioning them in a new space for a different type of learning experience. Engagement can originate with either student or teacher (or both); it can be collaborative and/or competitive and/or creative. The one part that seemed foundational to all the strategies was reflection, turning your gaze both inward and outward.

My part was on digital storytelling. I’m a big fan of digital storytelling, in case you didn’t know. I like to test new online storytelling tools, and see how they work to support different kinds of stories. My current fascination with comics is based out of my larger enthusiasm for storytelling. I argue that storytelling is part of every academic discipline. It’s obvious that the humanities dissolve if you remove stories. What is history without story? But when it comes to the sciences, people are more likely to have trouble seeing the story as part of the academic process. Of course, case studies in health care, sure, those are stories. And psychology and psychiatry, they don’t work without stories. Social work, yeah, of course. But physics? And engineering? Maybe if you aren’t in the field you have trouble seeing the story, but if you really think about every research paper, every structured abstract is a frame for a story. Every piece of science has a backstory, a motivation, a reason someone wanted to know THIS. Even mathematics. Even when camouflaged, the stories of science are implied. What changes isn’t the presence of the story, but how we tell them, and the tools we use to carry them.

The advantages of digital storytelling are similar to those of printed stories: portable, inclusive, persistent, and reaching a broader audience. One of the great lessons from education is that communication is never one-size-fits-all. The more ways you present important content, the more people will be able to understand it and engage with it. The greater the variety of media you use to tell a story, the more people will hear it. I’m happy to help people find and tell stories, especially science stories. There are a lot of different types of tools and resources in the slides. If I have time, I’ll spend a little more time on specific ones here some other time. If there is something in particular from the slides that you’d like me to talk about, say so in the comments, and I’ll make it a priority.

Make Health Fest Coming August 16!

Detroit Maker Faire 2013#UMSIMakerfest !!!Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire 2013
Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire 2013Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire 2014Detroit Maker Faire 2013
Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire 2014Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire 2014Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire 2013

We Make Health Fest
Saturday, Aug 16th, 2014
University of Michigan
Palmer Commons, Great Lakes Rooms

Short Description
“A collaborative event for a local and virtual community interested in health, technology, and participatory design. Join us for a full day of health themed design and maker activities!”

Longer Description
Many types of events are being triggered by the creativity of the Maker Movement — maker faires, mini-maker faires, maker camps, maker festivals, maker fests and makerfests, make-a-thons and createathons (also spelled makeathon or makethon), open make events, maker madness events, maker shows — and they come in all sizes, flavors, and themes. What does that mean? Think of it as a mash-up of science fair PLUS Hands On Museum or Exploratorium PLUS do it yourself! It’s all about learning and creating and problemsolving through a combination of Show+Tell+Do! Here at the University of Michigan, many people on campus are partnering on taking the “maker culture” energy and applying it through a lens focused on health to promote participatory and collaborative strategies in healthcare. Come, have fun, learn, make stuff, but more than that, meet other interesting and creative people who are interested in using what they have, know, and can do to Make Health!

Learn More!

Make Health:
Twitter: @MakeHealthUM
Google Plus: Make Health UM

A project of HealthDesignBy.Us
Twitter: @HealthByUs
Blog: Introducing @HealthByUs

We Make Health

First posted at THL Blog:

Maker Movement Meets Healthcare

When I try to talk to peers and colleagues about the Maker Movement, one of the questions that keeps coming up over and over is what the heck this has to do with healthcare, and why am I bothering to spend my valuable time with it. So, this post has three examples illustrating the intersection of the Maker Movement with healthcare. Basically, for one of these it’s health literacy education & outreach via hands on geek project, and for the other two, there were real world problems that have expensive, time-consuming or often inaccessible solutions, for which people came up with their own solutions and alternatives. And the solutions are cool, they work, and are usually MUCH cheaper than the official solution you try to get insurance to pay for. Since not everyone has insurance, and not everyone can afford the very best possible care, I see this as a good thing. Make sure you read all the way to the end. This just gets cooler and cooler. There are more, too, this is a very small sampling, just items I stumbled over in the past couple days without even looking for them.


Have you met Sylvia? Sylvia is twelve years old, is a Maker (I’m guessing her folks probably are also), and has her own series in Make Magazine, with a really cool blog and videos. In this example, she shows people how to build a wearable technology pendant that will sense your heart beat and display the rhythm of your pulse with flashing lights in a necklace.

The Sylvia Show: Lilypad Heartbeat Pendant:

The full post at Make Magazine (Super Awesome Sylvia Builds a Pulse Sensor Pendant)

Sylvia’s Super Awesome Mini Maker Show: Make a Heartbeat Pendant:

I confess, at first I thought this seemed kind of staged, but there are enough close ups of her hands actually doing things like soldering, that I decided she really does know how to do the work, even if there might be assistance or advice from others for some parts.

Here’s where you can buy your own PulseSensor (which Sylvia connects to an Arduino for control):


Here Denver Dias, an undergraduate student in Mumbai India, was working to try to create a walking aid for the blind. Yes, we have walking canes and seeing eye dogs, but this extremely early prototype uses tech to create 3d maps of the surrounding area while walking. The maps are communicated to the user by a combination of tones and vibrations. The tech includes LEDs, sonar, ultrasound, and more.

His blogpost:
Walking aid for the blind – undergrad project…

Found via Dangerous Prototypes:


Did you look at this and think it was some fancy looking glove a kid was wearing for a costume? Well, it isn’t. This is a design for kids who, for whatever reason, don’t have fingers. This open-source, freely shared pattern makes it possible for people to create their own prosthetic ‘hand’ with a 3d printer. You can resize it and tweak it. It’s called Robohand. Watch the video if you want to see some awfully happy kids. They are hoping it will also be useful for veterans.

Complete set of mechanical anatomically driven fingers

Updated Robohand design:

MakerBot and Robohand — 3D Printing Mechanical Hands

Via BoingBoing, NPR, and more.

3dPrinter: Donated Makerbot 3D printers accelerate distribution of Robohand mechanical hands

BoingBoing: Sponsor shout-out: Makerbot and the Robohand

MakerBot: Mechanical Hands From A MakerBot: The Magic Of Robohand

NPR: 3-D Printer Brings Dexterity To Children With No Fingers

Now, if anyone still thinks that the Maker Movement lacks relevance to healthcare, I’ll go find more, but first stop and think about Jack Andraka, whose recent discovery of innovative technology to diagnose many life-threatening cancers earlier and more cheaply, seem very much in keeping with the philosophy of the Maker Movement.

First posted at CoolToysU:

The Imagine Cup

Day 1 - Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals

In case you haven’t already heard about it, the Imagine Cup is taking place this week, with a livestream hosted by Microsoft for the final award ceremonies TOMORROW MORNING (i.e. 9:30AM Thursday morning July 11, 2013).

Imagine Cup:

I’m not just excited because Matt Smith, the current Doctor Who, is hosting the awards.

Matt Smith on Imagine Cup 2013: What’s Next?:
Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals with Matt Smith is just the beginning!

From their About page.
“The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s premier student technology competition. Over the past ten years, more than 1.65 million students from more than 190 countries have participated in the Imagine Cup.”

Last year the awards went to projects like these.

“D Labs allows tutors to understand the behavioral patterns of children with dyslexia by using games to assist them in alphabet identification and movement recognition.”

“Enable Talk was created to give disabled individuals with limited communication abilities a better way to communicate. It transforms sign language into a form of verbal communication by creating a mobile device that continuously recognizes sign language phonemes.”

“WinSenga is a mobile application that aids health workers as they assist expectant mothers. The algorithm analyzes fetal heart sounds to determine the fetal heart rate (beats per minute) and the age and position of the fetus and then records these readings to the cloud”

“Health Buzz is a cost-effective mobile-based solution that helps healthcare service providers access patients’ electronic medical records through a secure cloud-based storage system.”

“StethoCloud is a cloud-powered, mobile-hybrid stethoscope for early detection of pneumonia. By connecting a custom stethoscope to a mobile phone, the user is able to transmit diagnostic information into a cloud service, reproducing the diagnostic capability of a trained medical doctor.”

“nunav is a navigation system with the potential to reduce vehicle carbon emissions by preventing traffic congestion. The system proactively routes city traffic by calculating the best route for each car and communicating that information to each driver.”

Imagine Cup 2012: Imagine Cup Grants Award Winners:

Now you see why I’m excited? Incredible tech developments coming from the best and brightest high school students from around the world. Open their doors, open your mind, open the world.

Flickr: Imagine Cup:


Team Triton, Malaysia Team Omni-Hearing Solution, Taiwan
Team PhAid, Malta Team Qspark, Qatar
Team Kernel, Côte d’Ivoire Team Sano, Canada


Team Quad Damage presentation
Team vSoft Studio presentation Team Beezinga Presentation
Team MYRA Presentation Team Firebird Presentation
Team Seven Worlds Presentation Team Merado Presentation


Day 1 - Imagine Cup 2013 - Worldwide Finals Day 1 - Imagine Cup 2013 Worldwide Finals
Day 1 - Imagine Cup 2013 - Worldwide Finals Team Combine presentation

Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Comics or Cartoons for Digital Storytelling

Another one of last week’s Enriching Scholarship Sessions, this one in partnership with John Beals.

Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Comics or Cartoons for Digital Storytelling:

Digital storytelling, also referred to in educational circles as digital media assignments, often centers around making videos, but there are many other ways to tell stories. Comics and cartoons offer an attractive alternative approach to storytelling. In addition to uses for storytelling, they can also make engaging images for slides, presentations and illustrations. With the many online tools and software packages now available for creating these, there are many options to choose from for all levels of skill and expertise. This session will provide a survey of some tools, with illustrations of educational uses.

Even though the slides say “Part 2,” I actually started off, because I had to run across campus for another session right after, and John was gracious enough to be flexible. The slides were a rush job, because I was out sick so long with bronchitis, and I actually have a lot more content than is shown here. It worked out that this was just the right amount of content for the session. Lucky me!

Cheap and Easy Ways to Make Comics or Cartoons for Digital Storytelling:

This is an abbreviated set of the links and tools I’ve collected for doing this. What inspired me was a webcomic idea I have and want to do, but not being the kind of artist who can draw my own comic, I have been looking for … alternatives. I started out with some of the ways in which I use comics in my work already, with examples; then highlighted just a few of the many tools available. Last but not least, I also touched on using smartphones with photo filter apps or added word bubbles to generate images to tell your stories.

The session ended with John talking about real world educational uses of comics in the classroom, tips and tricks for how to design assignments, books for more info, and similar excellent content. John is FAR more expert than I in this area, which made for a great partnership. He used no slides this time, so these are from another session he did on a closely related topic earlier in the year.

Johnathon Beals: Comics in the Classroom:

You know you’ve done something right when you hear from people after the session who want to share what they’ve done with the tools you discussed! And what could be better than being one of the first to see new comics? This was such great fun to do, and had such a great response, I hope we do this again next year.