Museum of Modern Art Invests in DIY Electronics Kits

Museum of Modern Art Invests in DIY Electronics Kits
Arts & Culture

In a modern fusion of designers and engineers, New York's MoMA has added electronics-infused pieces to its collection

Jason Brick
  • 11 november 2014

There’s no denying that presentation is part of product engineering these days, and that engineering plays a part in presentation. New York City’s Museum of Modern Art has gone past “not denying” and straight to “embracing” by adding five DIY electrical engineering pieces to their Humble Masterpieces collection. The five pieces are:

  • Arduino, the open-source programmable chip that is a go-to for early stages of engineering projects
  • Ototo, which uses electrical impulses to create music from common objects using technology similar to what makes a touch screen work
  • Makey Makey, which uses simple components to transform virtually any object into a responsive computer control interface
  • Colour Chaser, a toy vehicle capable of following any drawn black line, and which translates colors into sound
  • The DIY Gamer Kit, a handheld console design tool in a box

MoMa Arduino.jpg

This is not the first time MoMA has recognized smart design as a form of art in and of itself. Previous exhibits have recognized the simple genius of Post-It Notes and the artful execution of Chupa Chups lollipops. Just as art and beauty are part of the human condition, engineering and design have become an integral part of all facets of our lives.


The DIY electrical collection was added in part for the elegance of their own design, but also for their potential impact on design and the world. Each piece invites the user to create, and educates them on the process of electrical engineering and design. For children and adults, this invitation could herald a future of crowdsourced engineering done as much for play as for work. If the status of Wikipedia — 100% crowdsourced by engaged hobbyists who finally had an outlet — is any example, that possibility seems like a certain future reality.

Images: MoMA, Yuri Suzuki


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