Saturday, August 25, 2018

Hack a Toothbrush

Here's a fun project we tried this summer in two different learning environments hacking into an electric toothbrush.

We first explored the idea of hacking into a cheap electric toothbrush at the Create Make Learn Summer Institute  with a group of teachers who were just getting started with making.

Later in the week,  we brought our dollar store toothbrushes to  TechSavvy Girls Camp   -  where over  60 girls we exploring and gaining confidence with technology.  Check out what happened!

There were so many wins to this project!

1) Affordable Making - Promotes upcycling

Purchase a dollar store electric toothbrush and you will end up with a hobby motor, a battery, and some toothbrush parts that can be repurposed into a new invention.  Buying these parts separately could cost between $2 - $3

Even though we purchased a 'new' electric toothbrush for this exploration,  taking it apart for parts helped increase awareness of the parts that can be gained  from objects that we consider 'disposable'. 

2) Learn to Solder

The fact that our new motor only had tiny metal clips to connect wires to, gave us the perfect reason to learn to solder on wire leads.  Learning to solder expands your capacity to make and increases your feeling of empowerment. 

After our first two girls succeeded in soldering some wire leads to the motor, they taught each other and by the second day of camp,  many of the girls felt empowered and  comfortable reaching for the soldering iron throughout the rest of the week.

3) Inventive Thinking

Equipped with new soldering skills and new parts from tearing into our toothbrushes, the girls started to imagine possibilities.  Their inventive spirit kicked in and our hacked toothbrushes took on new shapes, forms, and functions!

4)  Aligns to Agency by Design Framework 

Looking back at this project, I can easily spot all 3 capacities described in one of my favorite #makered frameworks from Agency by Design

  • Looking Closely
  • Exploring Complexity
  • Finding Opportunity

It was amazing to see how something as simple as a dollar store toothbrush provided us with an opportunity to engage both our minds and our hands through creating and making.

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