Tangible Electronics: Physical Prototyping with Sensors and Actors
Instructor: Jason Reizner
Credits: 6 ECTS, 4 SWS
Capacity: max. 15 students
Language: English
Date: Donnerstag/Thursday, Attention schedule change: 15:15-18:30
Location: Marienstr. 7b, Room 103
First Meeting: 20 October 2016, 15:15


Participants in this module 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 and subtractive manufacturing, printed electronics and laser direct structuring, 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

Registration for Winter Semester 2016/7 is now closed.


Successful completion of the course is dependent on regular attendance, active participation, completion of weekly assignments and delivery of a relevant semester project. 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)

20 October 2016
Week 1
Course Organization
Administrative Housekeeping

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

27 October 2016
Week 2
Prototypes: From Model-building to Speculative Documentation

Sources and Links from the Lecture

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

3 November 2016
Week 3
Presentation of Paper Prototypes
Materials, Form & Space, Part I

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

10 November 2016
Week 4
Materials, Form & Space, Part II
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.

17 November 2016
Week 5
Mark Shepard Lecture
Oberlichtsaal, Hauptgebäude

Assignment: Upon receiving your Arduino, please be sure to run through the Blink tutorial

24 November 2016
Week 6
Garbage In: Working with Sensors and Microcontrollers

Note: Today's meeting will take place in the IFD[[IFD:Start|Interface-Design]] E-Lab, M5[[Marienstraße 5]]/102

Sources and Links from the Lecture

1 December 2016
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.

8 December 2016
Week 8
Garbage Out: Working with Actors and Environments

15 December 2016
Week 9
Tangible Computing Holiday Spectacular

5 January 2017
Week 10
Computer Vision Lab
Bring a Computer and, if you haven't already, be ready to install Processing!

12 January 2017
Week 11
Introduction to 3D Workflows for Rapid Prototyping

19 January 2017
Week 12
Additive and Subtractive Prototyping Lab

26 January 2017
Week 13
Debug Lab

2 February 2017
Week 14
Final Presentations

Further Reading

Dunne, Anthony, and Fiona Raby. Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.

Sterling, Bruce. Shaping Things. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.

Johnson, Brian David. Science Fiction Prototyping: Designing the Future with Science Fiction. San Rafael, CA: Morgan & Claypool, 2011.

Ching, Francis D.K. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2007.

Di Mari, Anthony and Nora Yoo. Operative Design: A Catalogue of Spatial Verbs. Amsterdam: BIS Publishers, 2012.