teaching machines

Vector Giraffe

One of the ways I hope to make it through my children’s teenage years is to make games with them. I think we’ll be able to skip over drugs, alcohol, tattoos, skateboards, and pubescent love entirely if I play my cards right. To that end, I’ve made decent progress on getting my kids to learn […]

Barrel in Pixels

My sons and I have started taking a Coursera MOOC on pixel art. Our first assignment was to create a barrel, like that which might appear in a “pirate game.” Here’s my interpretation: I’m not sure that I thought about pirates at all as I laid down those pixels.


A student and I are attaching a bunch of accelerometers to a wooden mannequin. When we pose the mannequin, an Arduino will pick up the new orientation of the limbs and communicate the pose to a Unity game, which will manipulate the corresponding virtual model inside a game. In a sense, the mannequin will be […]

Pixel Cat

To improve listening in my overly large family, we have introduced a feature into our evening meals. Each night, someone issues a challenge, a question, or some other activity that gives each member of the family an opportunity to share and be listened to. Last night, my oldest son gave us the task of creating […]


Homework assignments usually start brewing in my head well before I actually assign them. Stella, for instance, was born last fall but won’t be assigned until next fall. I also need about that much time to respond to an email. Stella is a kaleidoscopic drawing application. The user draws on a canvas, and the drawn […]

Pixelated Sphere

I don’t know exactly what magic is made of, but I’m pretty sure it’s spheres. No matter where you stand on a sphere’s surface, you see change. Yet the same change happens everywhere. No point is better than other—until you shine a light on it. But the sphere won’t let the light play favorites. It […]

Pixelated Crate

My 8- and 6-year-old sons and I have been playing EvoLand 2. The game cutely blends action RPGs with platformers with shmups with infinite runners with tactical RPGs with fighting games with menu-based RPGs. Somehow they even squeezed in Snake, Pong, and Pac-Man. Apart from the varied gameplay, EvoLand 2 has inspired us to make […]