Using New Media to Teach Classic Art Techniques to Kids

i-o-brush.jpg21st century art is wild! Many have seen the Women in Art media morph circulating the internet (great way to open kids’ eyes to classic art through new technology)…Now, MIT’s Media Lab turns kids on to the I/O Brush, which ‘paints’ through imagery onto a computer screen with optical fibers, and video camera touch sensors built into the tips.

Watch this video from the Science Channel to see how kids as young as 5 paint their world with “WOW!” as art duplicates life on an LCD canvas.

Bet you’ve never seen your own blinking eye digitally transferred onto a rainbow-colored parrot created from a fruit bowl, eh!?

It’s very surreal; kind of Miró meets Chagall with a dash of Alice in Wonderland tossed in…amazing. Designed as a learning tool for children by wunderkind Kimiko Ryokai and Stefan Marti at MIT (it won a gold student IDEA award awhile back) Kimiko explained her desire to take the gizmo beyond a toy into an art form:

“I wanted kids to look at colors in their real world, their real environment in search of different shades of colors, patterns, from their own personal objects and environments.”

Here’s an incredible video showing the brush in action…Capturing color off of flowers, tin cans, striped beach bags…Texture from a scruffy dog, blue jeans…Printed words from a page and motion in the blink of an eye. The ability to record texture, color and movement, enables kids to use their own natural world as a canvas of creation.

This integration of form and function melds into abstractions of self-expression that could revolutionize an entire new art form. Everyday I’m awestruck by the wonders of technological innovation (like this MIT motion simulation of motion, turning engineering into a whiteboard exercise of digital drawing!) Sheesh.

Here’s more on the I/O brush from the Digital Digression blog and a blurb in the Ars Electronica archive capsulizing the project. Of course, if you show this new medium to your kids, be prepared for the inevitable response, “Whoa, where can I get one?”



  1. very cool. Anxious to see how much this will cost will cost when it’s available in stores.

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