A playful interactive installation using microcontrollers, actuators, webservices and origami. The GRACE installation was developed for engaging with the public at a makerfaire in discussions on the views of Computer Science as a male field.
On September 9th 1947, the computer scientist Grace M. Hopper reported in her diary the “first case of a bug being found” when she was operating the Mark II computer. Ever since, computer scientists have been “debugging” software, sometimes without being aware of the origin of the term and of the paramount role that groups of women played in the early days of computing. Building on this story, we developed GRACE: A playful interactive installation that combines physical and digital materials. The installation consists of a large public display (340cm by 180cm) of a vintage electromechanical computer, which serves as an IoT platform for interactive physical and digital representations of origami paper bugs, which are added by participants. The origami bugs can be controlled (movement-servos and light-LEDs) by squishing digita representations of the origami bugs in the Grace App, which participants download to their own mobile devices. The app is freely available on Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ettinentertainment.grace&hl=en) and in iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/grace-femtech-dk/id1269731761?mt=8).