Kipp Bradford

Kipp Bradford is a Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab. His work explores the future of entrepreneurship, design, and the interaction between engineering technologies and humanity. He is a founder of start-ups in the fields of transportation, consumer products, HVAC, and medical devices, and holds numerous patents for his inventions. Some of his more interesting projects have turned into kippkitts.

Kipp co-wrote “Distributed Network Data” (hardware hacking for Data Scientists) and cofounded the Data Sensing Lab, as well as RI’s Maker Faire and the National Maker Faire. He supports several startup accelerators, including Highway1. He is a USA SciFest’s “Nifty Fifty” speaker, and was recognized as a leading innovator at Frost & Sullivan’s GIL 2013. Formerly a Senior Design Engineer and Lecturer at the Brown University School of Engineering, Kipp taught engineering design and entrepreneurship at his alma mater for several years. He serves on multiple nonprofit boards, including The Maker Education Initative, as well as the tech advisory board of MAKE Magazine. He is a Fellow at the College of Design, Engineering and Commerce at Philadelphia University.

Workshop: Design with LabVIEW: Wireless Motion Capture with Visual Programming


LabVIEW is a visual programming language and environment specifically for working with hardware, making it easy to prototype and build anything from a feline tracker for your cat to a rocket ship for SpaceX. While it has historically only been available as professional software for engineers and scientists, National Instruments has recently released a consumer version for artists and makers — and workshop attendees will receive a copy. Come try it out with this hands-on class. By the time you’re done, you’ll have built a wireless rig for basic motion-capture, and we’ll use motion to trigger some sound effects as well.

Blinking an LED is the “hello world” of hardware. We’ll start with this intro exercise virtually inside LabVIEW, then move from the virtual environment to real hardware using Arduino. We’ll get the two systems talking to each other, providing the foundation for building complex systems on your desktop that connect directly to the physical environment. Then we’ll move beyond simple LEDs to make things more interesting. We’ll use a basic tilt-sensor and gyroscope to track the movement of a body part, and begin to collect that motion-tracking data. But the raw sensor data isn’t very interesting or useful, so we’ll use LabVIEW to convert the data into angle and rotation information, and quickly create basic visualizations. Finally, we’ll add wireless capability to our project using a low-cost, widely-used transmitter. Sensors are much more useful when they’re not tethered to your machine!

Familiarity with Arduino or Processing will be a big help, but no programming knowledge is necessary.

• Get to know the LabVIEW environment by blinking a virtual LED
• Move from the LabVIEW virtual environment to actual hardware using Arduino
• Use Arduino to blink the virtual LED in LabVIEW, and use LabVIEW to blink a real LED
• Connect and test a tilt-sensor and gyroscope to track movement
• Interpret and visualize the motion capture data with LabVIEW
• Eliminate the wire connecting the sensor to the laptop using an XBee wireless transmitter

• A laptop computer
Arduino 1.6.7
• LabVIEW [attendees will be sent registration code]
Linx toolkit