From Medien Wiki

Dystopic/Utopic Prototype Lab
Instructor: Jason Reizner
Credits: 6 ECTS, 4 SWS
Capacity: max. 12 students
Language: English
Date: Dienstag/Tuesday, 13:30-16:45
Location: Marienstr. 7b, Room 104
First Meeting: 10 April 2018


“A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.”
     – Hunter S. Thompson

From mockups, proofs-of-concept and click-dummies to speculative design and design fiction, the prototypes produced by today's artists, designers and architects express both the current state of the art and the fascinating/terrifying future of digital interaction. This module explores strategies for the development of prototypes for the screen and physical world, incorporating a range of methodologies for visual, paper, UX and functional prototyping. Participants will be introduced to the basics of electronics and physical computing through experimentation with discrete and integrated components, microcontrollers and optoelectric, electrochemical, mechanical, thermal and magnetic sensors and actors. Tasked with the conception, design and realization of functional prototypes using contemporary methods and processes for additive/subtractive manufacturing and printed electronics, students will develop the skills and competencies necessary to make the first leap in the transition of interaction concepts to digital devices and physical infrastructures.

Admission requirements

Concurrent enrollment in another IFD course offering, or with instructor permission.

Registration procedure

Preliminary registration will take place at the faculty-wide enrollment event on 4 April 2018 in the Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 7.


Successful completion of the course is dependent on regular attendance, active participation, completion of weekly assignments and delivery of a relevant semester prototype. Please refer to the Evaluation Rubric for more details.

Eligible participants

MFA Medienkunst/-gestaltung, MFA Media Art and Design, MSc MediaArchitecture

Syllabus (subject to change)

10 April 2018
Week 1
Course Organization
Administrative Housekeeping

Assignment: Read "The Long History of Prototypes" by Michael Guggenheim

17 April 2018
Week 2
Prototypes: From Model-building to Speculative Design

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: Look through "Design Fiction" by Julian Bleecker and develop your Dystopic/Utopic Paper Prototypes

24 April 2018
Week 3
Roundtable Presentations: Dystopic/Utopic Paper Prototypes

Assignment: Over the next two weeks, please review Universal Principles of Design by Lidwell, Holden and Butler. Also, please don't forget to take a picture of the prototype you presented today and submit a copy by email.

1 May 2018
Week 4
Tag Der Arbeit
No Class

8 May 2018
Week 5
UX and Screen Prototypes
Usability Evaluation

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: If you haven't already, please review Universal Principles of Design. Your task for next week is to develop a simple task flow and use it to create a simple two- or three-screen click-dummy or interactive mockup using the tool(s) of your choice (Sketch, XD, Invision, Marvel, et.c.). Be prepared to discuss which of the design principles/paradigms from last week's reading are present in your prototype. We will be performing heuristic evaluations on your mockups during our next session.

15 May 2018
Week 6
Roundtable Presentations/Impromptu UX Evaluation Lab:
Screen Prototypes and Usability

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: For next week, finish preparing your midterm presentation and be ready to present for 10-15 minutes. In preparation for the Input Lab in two weeks, please review the first two chapters of Making Things Talk by Tom Igoe and, if you don't already have one, please acquire the Arduino-compatible microcontroller of your choice, as well as some basic supplies such as jumper wires and a breadboard.

22 May 2018
Week 7
Midterm Presentations

29 May 2018
Week 8
Input Lab: Working with Sensors and Microcontrollers

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: For next week, please review Chapter 16 of The Mechatronics Handbook: Introduction to Sensors and Actuators by Anjanappa, Datta and Song. Please bring your computers, microcontrollers and associated components to class on the 5th.

5 June 2018
Week 9
Output Lab: Working with Actors and Environments

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: Next week, bring a computer with a camera and, if you haven't already, be ready to install OpenCV for the development environment of your choice.

12 June 2018
Week 10
Computer Vision Lab

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: Please install a current version of SketchUp and have a look at these video tutorials. Be sure to bring your computer again next week!

19 June 2018
Week 11
Materials, Form & Space
Introduction to 3D Workflows for Rapid Prototyping

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: Prepare a 3D Model for next week's Lab

26 June 2018
Week 12
Additive and Subtractive Prototyping Lab

Sources and Links from the Lecture

3 July 2018
Week 13
Roundtable Presentations: Quasi-functional Prototypes
Final Presentations for participants unable to attend Showreel on 5.7.

Thursday, 5 July 2018
Final Presentations: IFD Showreel
Audimax, 11:00-17:00

Final Presentations

Please be sure to indicate whether you will be presenting in class on Tuesday, 3.7. or at Showreel on 5.7. here.

Submission of Final Semester Deliverable/Documentation

The deadline to submit your semester deliverables and documentation is 31. August 2018.
Please submit your documentation as PDF, along with any support materials (source code, videos, et.c.) as a ZIP archive.