Automated Doggie Ball Launcher; The Science Technology & Society Research of The Makers Movement's Impact on Technological Literacy

Childers, Andrew, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Powell, Harry, EN-Elec/Computer Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Baritaud, Catherine, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia

Creative spirit is the birth of innovation and technologies. The technical research topic aims to steward the creative spirit though the creation of an automatic dog ball launcher. The science, technology and society (STS) topic provides a framework to analyze the creative spirit of society expressed through the makers movement and its impact on technological literacy. The tightly coupled technical and STS topics describe the creation of the dog ball launcher and the social impact of encouraging creation through the makers movement.
The technical project was to design build and test an automated dog ball launcher that could launch a ball at differing horizontal angles, distances, and times based on input from a Bluetooth connection, during a semester-long capstone project. The project was split into three components the hardware side, the embedded coding side, and the web application side. The result was a device that was constructed out of wood and 3D printed parts that could launch the ball in a 180-degree range at facing the front of the machine and could launch the ball at 3 different lengths. The device was also able to communicate over Bluetooth to receive the launch distance, direction, and duration. The final product was a device that met the basics of our goal however due to time and resource constraints was not fine tuned enough. The overall project was a success with clear paths for improvement.
Understanding the value of creation and wanting to explore its impact led to the question of how has the Maker Movement positively affected the increase of technological literacy. Pinch and Bijker’s Social Construction of Technology theory was used to create a framework outlining the parts of society impacting a technology from the impact of the maker movement. The research was from a collection of scientific articles, news articles, and case studies.
The Makers Movements impact was divided into 3 categories local communities, schools, and companies. In the categories research for each area was presented and showed an increase of technological literacy. The paper restates the value of hands-on learning and how ideas such as the maker movement are still prevalent in society and how continued pursuit of places such as maker spaces should be a top priority.
The technical and STS research both point towards the value of creation and its ability to increase technological literacy. The creation of more technical projects should be continued in our society as the way to increase technological literacy.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Social Construction of Technology, The Makers Movement, Technological Literacy, Dog Ball Launcher

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering
Technical Advisor: Harry Powell
STS Advisor: Catherine Baritaud
Technical Team Members: Alexander Byrd, Ji Sun Hong, Hayden Sarpong, and Austin Turner

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