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Madeup is a programming language for teaching computer science. But it's not "Hello, world." Learners code up shapes and print them.
Madeup is a programming language for teaching computer science. But it's not "Hello, world." Learners code up shapes and print them.
95 backers pledged $4,446 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$4,446

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Stretching Beyond

I woke up this morning to find a surge of generosity that has carried us to our stretch goal: a desktop version of Madeup. Thank you!

The next thought that struck me was, "Do I need another stretch goal for the final hours of the campaign?" In my discussions about Madeup with folks in the computer science community, I have become aware of the importance of a block-based interface (like Scratch and AppInventor and many others). I contemplated adding a stretch goal to implement a blocks interface, but I had to admit I intend to add this whether or not I meet a stretch goal. I felt it disingenuous to announce it as a stretch goal when I plan on implementing it anyway. Of course, if you would still like to contribute, I welcome your support.

Stretching

Thanks to the generosity of 50 backers, we have reached our initial $2500 fundraising goal. Since there's some time left on the clock, I asked the backers if we should pursue a further goal. The most requested stretch goal is a desktop version of Madeup. What were their reasons?

  • An Internet connection would not be necessary.
  • Individuals would not need to be concerned about accounts and privacy issues.

So, if we can reach $4000 by the end of the campaign, I will work on a desktop Madeup client to be released during summer 2016. Work on this will not precede our initial goal of getting the web client released in early 2016.

What is Madeup?

Madeup is a programming language for making things up. Its speakers navigate 3-D space to generate printable shapes. The language is designed to teach computation from a tangible, first-person perspective and to help students integrate technology back into the non-virtual world. The models that we build in Madeup can be sent directly to a 3-D printer.

The Madeup language is a fully-featured programming language, supporting both imperative and functional styles of programming. It supports the following:

  • mathematical operators
  • conditional statements
  • loops
  • arrays
  • boolean logic
  • variables
  • functions
  • recursion
  • higher-order functions
  • partial function application (in progress)

As Madeup users write code to wander through space, they think about the structure of shapes, how we use mathematics to model the world, symbolic thinking, and sequential and diverging processes. Students who use Madeup learn as much about computer programming as they do mathematics, design, and logic. And they do so in a spatial context, which allows them to leverage a great wealth of their own prior knowledge. All this, plus the output can be held in one's hand!

TODO

We have developed Madeup in our free time for the past year and a half. It is still in alpha stage. We are hoping to raise enough funds to clean up its rough edges and make it freely available to the general public. In particular, we want to use it in summer camps, introductory programming classes, professional development for K-12 teachers, and outreach events.

Madeup is almost ready to be shared with others, but some work remains. With your support, we will complete the following tasks before making it publicly available:

  • Bug fixes (mysterious orientation flips, awkward joints, improperly handled concavities, etc.)
  • Documentation
  • Lesson plans
  • Speed-ups (metaball generation, mesh generation)
  • Improved user interface
  • Account system

Much of the work will take place in summer 2015, when we are not as busy at our full-time university teaching jobs.

Examples

A traffic cone made of two simple tubes.
A traffic cone made of two simple tubes.
A worm composed of spheres on a sine wave.
A worm composed of spheres on a sine wave.
A helix generated with a tube command.
A helix generated with a tube command.
A star extruded into a solid.
A star extruded into a solid.
A vase generated by revolving its cross-section around the y-axis.
A vase generated by revolving its cross-section around the y-axis.
A ripple generated as a two-dimensional parametric surface.
A ripple generated as a two-dimensional parametric surface.

Will it work?

We have already used Madeup in a few public workshops at our library and local schools. Our favorite feedback from these early tests was from a young woman just starting middle school: "How do I build a sphere?" The participants have been excited to make things.

Models built by middle schoolers using Madeup at a workshop held in the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire, WI.
Models built by middle schoolers using Madeup at a workshop held in the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library in Eau Claire, WI.

Rewards

$10 or more: your name goes on the Madeup Slab of Thanks, a 3-D model of the names of all our gracious supporters.

$25 or more: a Madeup sticker is sent to you in the mail, along with a hearty expression of our thanks.

$50 or more: you are given early access to Madeup and its documentation. You'll be able to create your own models!

$75 or more: a 3-D printed ceramic rupee designed in Madeup is sent to you in the mail.

Your generosity pays--in foreign currency.
Your generosity pays--in foreign currency.

$100 or more: a 3-D printed ceramic trivet composed of interlocking spirals and designed in Madeup is sent to you in the mail.

These interlocking spirals are so powerful, they won't let your table won't get scorched by hot pots and pans that you set on them!
These interlocking spirals are so powerful, they won't let your table won't get scorched by hot pots and pans that you set on them!

$250 or more: a 3-D printed initials keychain is sent to you in the mail. We will generate a contour surface around the intersection of your three initials and then print it. See an interactive demo.

Is it a C? Is it an R? Is it a J? Yes, yes, yes.
Is it a C? Is it an R? Is it a J? Yes, yes, yes.

$500 or more: The project staff will run a half-day workshop for a group of youngsters of your choosing near Eau Claire, WI. If you are outside this range, but can cover travel expenses, let's talk!

Risks and challenges

Madeup is already functional and has been used in an introductory programming class and several outreach events. What remains are bug fixes, speedups, interface improvements, and an account system so that people can save their creations and return to them later. We anticipate few risks to this project.

Nevertheless, we do take some precautions: we use version control to safeguard our code, we keep an eye out for buses, and we write unit tests.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Your name embossed on the genuine virtual Madeup Slab of Thanks. This interactive 3-D renderered slab will be available on the Madeup website.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A genuine Madeup sticker! For your laptop. For your cat. For your support.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Early access to Madeup for coding up your own models. Documentation included!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    A 3-D printed ceramic rupee, the Hyrulean currency. Designed in Madeup. Plus early access to Madeup!

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    4 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    A 3-D printed ceramic trivet comprised of interlocking spirals. Designed in Madeup. Plus early access to Madeup!

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    9 backers
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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A 1" 3-D printed keychain of your initials. Plus early access to Madeup!

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A half-day workshop for a student group of your choosing within a 1-hour radius of Eau Claire, WI, USA. (If you are outside this radius but can handle travel expenses, let's talk.) Scheduled at your convenience sometime in 2016. Plus early access to Madeup!

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Funding period

- (40 days)