I just realized that the PIE institute has a wonderful website! PIE is “Playful Invention and Exploration” – or integrating engineering with artistic expression. Their web page is a treasure chest for any maker… let me tell you (especially those of you who like to hack and Make and all that), it’s a delightful creative world of science fun. PIE is a little self-funded institute in the Exploratorium run by two PI’s, Karen and Mike. Since it’s got its own grant-funding, they can go off and do the kind of creative play that got the Exploratorium its name, generally using techie kind of stuff (and they also have a predilection for music). It grew out of a program from the MIT Media Lab. They show up at the Maker Faire, so be sure to check them out if you’re in the Bay Area. Here are some videos from their workshops.

To give you a taste, at one of the Exploratorium parties Karen and Mike laid out a little electronically wired mat, connected to a music synthesizer. The catch — the circuit was incomplete. The only way to make music was to stand on the mat with someone else, and hold hands. (Sweaty hands worked best).

Their website gives instructions for making beautiful light paintings with a digital camera, cardboard automata, and singing stones.