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If neon THEN Blink: Intro to Coding for Neon

April 15th - April 29th
James Akers |

Become a cybernetic crafter! Dive into the world of physical computing by learning to digitally control neon tubes. Using a high level visual programming language, students will learn to rephrase their blinky demands into digital “if/then” logic statements to program sophisticated micro-controllers and drive controllable transformers. Learn how to program them from scratch, or load and edit pre-coded online examples to fit your needs. A perfect class for hunkering up next to your computer for weeks at a time!

No coding/programming experience is required. However, students should be comfortable with connecting neon tubes to transformers, as well as dragging and dropping files on a computer.

Class outline:
This class has three sessions held on Thursdays. During the first class, James will introduce the circuit playground microcontroller and programming environment, as well as the wide possibilities of interacting with controllable neon transformers. We will talk about different ways to control neon, and go over where to find programming resources and materials online. Class time in the second and last class will focus mostly on student-specific projects, diving into some more specialized approaches as needed.

Additional materials are required to participate in class projects (not included in the price of the class) at an estimated cost of $80, if the minimum materials are purchased. Materials include at least (1) transformer and (1) Microcontroller kit. Upon registration, students will receive resources and suggestions for purchasing supplies, as well as specifications for the customizations needed for the transformer(s). Your specific needs may depend on your neon sign. 

This is a virtual class taking place online via Zoom. A Zoom link will be emailed to you upon registration with further instructions for accessing the class.

Class Schedule
  • 3 Sessions: April 15 — April 29
    Thursday, 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

James Akers

My name is James Akers, and I am an artist currently based in Brooklyn, New York where I work as a commercial neon bender and as a sculptor. I create dense, frenetically active sculptures that often incorporate neon and sound circuits.

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