About Mike Ballard

Mike studied creative writing at Bath Spa. Since his teens, he has been avidly interested in tinkering, first with music technology and synthesis before becoming more actively involved in technology. More recently, he has been finding ways to use STEAM and making through different collaborative projects which now form part of his practice at the STEAMShip.

Building a Mad Scientist’s Vintage Lab

There are lots of kits available these days for the budding electronics engineer, but we thought it would be great fun to prototype a minature version the kind of lab you might see being used by a crazy scientist performing some questionable electronic experiments in a remote castle somewhere. We also thought it'd be interesting [...]

By |2019-03-14T14:36:12+00:00March 14th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Workshop with Mufti Games – Taking Things Apart: A Case Study.

When we were asked to work with Mufti Games, a Bristol-based organisation which creates playful and memorable experiences for all ages, naturally we jumped at the chance. There is overwhelming evidence of the importance of play in learning, you only have to look at the work of Semour Papert and Mitch Resnik and ultimately their [...]

By |2019-02-06T13:24:05+00:00February 6th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Exploring Story Development: Writing stories for games

This is the first of a series of posts in which we'll look at different techniques of developing interactive stories. In this first post, we'll explore techniques to help you start to produce stories and look at ways to prepare them for working with digital tools to make them more interactive such as Scratch and [...]

By |2018-11-08T15:27:50+00:00November 8th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Steampunking the Spikenzie Labs Solder : Time Watch

I was excited to receive the original Solder: Time watch by Spikenzie Labs as a birthday present and I thought it would make a good project for a steampunk watch. I have been a fan of nixie tube watches for a while, in particular, the ChronodeVFD cyberpunk wristwatch by J. M. De Cristofaro which isn't [...]

By |2019-01-19T15:36:43+00:00January 12th, 2018|Projects, Technology|0 Comments

Fun with LED Glowies and Throwies

LED Glowies and Throwies are great little lights which you can use as building blocks for all kinds of STEAM projects. A simple LED Glowie consists of an LED and 1 or 2 cell batteries, taped together. To make one you put the positive wire (longer wire) of the LED on the positive + side [...]

By |2019-01-19T15:37:30+00:00September 20th, 2017|Art, Projects, Technology|0 Comments

Adventures with the BBC Microbit: Coding with Mu

The BBC Microbit is such a versatile entry point to programming and there are already some excellent resources that you can use to get going with it straight away. But at the STEAMShip, we are really excited about how we might explore different ways to integrate it in your projects beyond the excellent resources that [...]

By |2019-01-19T15:38:33+00:00June 28th, 2017|Coding, Projects, Technology|0 Comments

Synthesis with Light – Atari Punk Console/Forrest Mims PunkPac

I am starting to explore some simple soldering projects and developing a workflow from early ideas to a more useful art prototype. I have been avidly reading Forrest Mims' Science Experiments. Its a great book for experimenting with science and art in a playful but educational way. Lots of the projects in this book [...]

By |2018-07-10T13:55:05+00:00June 12th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Prototyping with cardboard: Phenakistoscope

As a potential workshop to explore prototyping with cardboard, we have been investigating ways of building machines with cardboard as a material. Its a material that is available in abundance and can be worked into the most ingenious creations. Just look at these examples So I thought that I would explore how I might build [...]

By |2017-04-27T15:49:44+00:00April 27th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Steampunk Google Cardboard Viewer

Google Cardboard allows you to get a great VR experience on a real budget. But I wanted to try and build a steampunk prototype of the viewer which allows for better focal length adjustment. The project is being adapted from the standard Google Cardboard template The prototype consists of 3 wooden panels. You slip a [...]

By |2017-06-22T11:48:29+00:00March 17th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments