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[[IFD:Start|Interface-Design]] course offering, or with instructor permission.

Registration procedure

Preliminary registration will take place at the faculty-wide enrollment event on 4 April 2018 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

MFAMaster of Fine Arts – graduate students will receive this degree Medienkunst/-gestaltung, MFAMaster of Fine Arts – graduate students will receive this degree 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 Presentation: Dystopic/Utopic Paper Prototypes
Materials, Form & Space

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: Look through "Ingredients (Issue 2)" by Chris Lefteri and review the first chapter of Making Things Talk by Tom Igoe

1 May 2018
Week 4
Tag Der Arbeit
No Class

8 May 2018
Week 5
UX and Screen Prototypes
Usability Evaluation

Assignment: Build a two-screen click-dummy using the tool of your choice (Sketch, XD, Invision, Marvel, et.c.). Afterwards, perform a heuristic evaluation on your click-dummy.

15 May 2018
Week 6
Roundtable Presentation: Screen Prototypes and Usability
An Introduction to Working with Electronics

Sources and Links from the Lecture

Assignment: Review the second chapter of Making Things Talk by Tom Igoe and, if you don't already have one, please acquire the Arduino microcontroller of your choice, as well as some basic supplies such as jumper wires and a breadboard.

22 May 2018
Week 7
Midterm Presentations

Assignment: For next week, please review Chapter 16 of The Mechatronics Handbook: "Introduction to Sensors and Actuators" by Anjanappa, Datta and Song.

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

Sources and Links from the Lecture

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

Sources and Links from the Lecture

12 June 2018
Week 10
Printed Electronics/Computer Vision Lab

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.

19 June 2018
Week 11
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 Presentation: Quasi-functional Prototypes

Debug Lab

10 July 2018
Week 14
Final Presentations