A New Kind of Soda

| May 18, 2010

This new type of soda can quench your thirst for creations!

The website called sodaplay is a platform for creation and collaboration through creating models. Designers create and share for free online.

I came across this tool in one of my classes last year whereby one of sodaplay’s applications was serving as a form of training/learning for engineers. One of the applications apart of www.sodaplay.com is called Soda Constructor which is a java based physics engine and its rules are realistic, meant to model the physical world. It is a kit that provides the designer with springs and masses, then by having physical properties like gravity, friction, and speed at your disposal you choose what your model’s purpose will be (stand, walk, wiggle, etc) but you can also make the model collapse if the controls you set don’t ‘hold up’ by physical definition. These types of creations some have termed binary toys.

This collaborative website includes two helpful sections the ‘play’ section and obviously a ‘create’ tab. The ‘play’ area I think is a great feature because it allows you to learn what others have done with the applications available before you attempt to try one on your own. There is a sodazoo of people’s creations you can download and it also allows you alter the existing models, if you are logged in.

At first the design template of the applications reminded me of a version of the classic paint application but instead of color as the motivating factor – motion and the laws of physics are your tools for innovation. As fun as it can be to create using this tool it also takes some practice and experimentation using the tool. This aspect of the tool is something that I see educational value in. I think this tool has potential to be connected well with inquiry type activities and co-operative learning.
Check it out!

This video is someone going through 3 of the applications (Soda Constructor, Moovl, Newtoon Microgame)- it is not the best narration but it does show a few examples.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfQ-ZsH7gFs