In July, Aaron Schachter, host of WGBH’s On Campus Radio podcast, visited the Edgerton Center’s Engineering Design Workshop (EDW), a five-week engineering program for high school students. The hour-long radio piece focused on summer programs that bring high school students to the college campus for educational programs, giving students a taste of what learning on a college campus is like.
Their first stop was Boston Conservatory at Berklee where students participated in a two-week music program. Next stop, and a perfect musical segue, was EDW where Ed Moriarty, Edgerton Center instructor, introduced Schachter and Nicholas Shugarts, his audio tech, to the interactive musical laser harp.
Built and reiterated upon in EDW over successive years, the three-dimensional wooden musical laser harp has laser beams instead of strings. When the invisible laser strings are interrupted, with fingers plucking for instance, signals are sent to a built-in synthesizer that plays the corresponding musical notes.
Six teams comprised of 27 students built projects ranging from a remote-controlled companion robot to a battery-powered scooter made from a donated bicycle built specifically for Chris Mayer, Edgerton Center instructor and co-leader, who is often tasked with carrying EDW equipment across campus.
After the students finished talking with Schacther, Moriarty had his chance for an interview. When discussing the impact EDW has had on students and himself, Moriarty welled up with emotion.
“What I’m trying to do here is have it that the students’ opinions matter and their decisions matter. We learn from them, this is much more of a collaboration…” said Moriarty, EDW founder in 2007.
Listen in… EDW begins at 13:45 seconds in.