Clay Meets Electronics: Clay as a material for teaching Physical Computing- Prototype Presentation

November 10th, 2015 By MLgatech


Concept Development:

Based on feedback received during the design presentation, review with Michael and some independent reflection I decided to make a set of activities designed for kids to learn Physical Computing using clay as a material for story-telling.

Here are some properties of clay that render it good for use as an entry-level material:

-Malleable: can be moulded easily with hands+simple tools

-Rigid: can be transformed to rigid forms

– Insulative: can mount electronics easily on the surface

-Adhesive: can be combined with other lumps of clay + electronics can be plugged in easily


Activity 1: Decorating a clay form with Graphite and LED’s to learn about circuit loops and to provide a segue into using digital technologies for some sensing action on clay forms. Inspiration for decorating these pots with  was derived from art forms such as Warli and other African Prints(

A fine folkart tradition - Warli Painting

Courtesy : Pandiyan V (Follow A fine folkart tradition – Warli Painting)


Graphite on clay tab     Light up LED on clay tablet


Activity 2: demonstrating some sensing and action and seeing how Clay forms impart playfulness

The idea here is to see how clay can transform the look of electronics which look very functional to impart a sense of play

Bell Demo Clay


Further Exploration:

To develop the learning further the idea is to explore the use of clay as an insulator in forming some basic components for a circuit. Think switches and connectors and other Input/Outputs.

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