Interaction Design WikiPhysical Computing

Physical Computing HS2018

Lecturers: Joël Gähwiler, Luke Franzke

Course Overview

In this course, we will look at physical computing as a method of interaction design. Our definition of Physical Computing refers to the use of hardware and software to make interactive objects that can respond to events in the real world. These events may be general knowledge about the environment (temperature, brightness, etc.) or user interactions (keystroke, approach, touch, etc.). These devices might respond with direct feedback through displays or actuators, or by performing actions in a digital environment. The challenge of physical computing is to make the interface between human and machine as simple and intuitive as possible by taking physical human abilities and habits into account.

Course Goals

The students learn how to handle hardware and software in order to prototype their own ideas. The students develop an understanding of the characteristics of physical interactions and demonstrate them through functional prototypes. From a technical perspective, students learn the areas of electronics, microcontroller programming (Arduino), sensors and actuators.

In the first one and a half weeks, the students will work individually through the introductory topics. In the second stage, students will form groups of 3 people for the final project.

Topic: Quellen der Energie (im Zauberwald) 

This year, students work will be exhibited in Zauberwald in a collective installation. The installation covers the topic of Energy Production and will combine outcomes from Physical Computing and Interactive Visualisation. In the Physical Computing module, students will develop an input device, that will later be used to control a visualisation developed in the Interactive Visualisation module. More information on the project can be found here.

Each input device will be themed on renewable energy sources relating to an energy source in Switzerland. Students will develop the appearance and function of the energy source and build in sensors to allow various forms of interactions from visitors to be fed into the Visualiser. 

The available energy sources are:

Guidelines for the object: 

Technical Specification

Each object must use a Arduino MKR1000 (WiFi, 3.3V) that connects to a shifr.io namespace and transmits the current energy production as string representation of a floating point value between 0.0 and 1.0. At the final presentation we will communicate access credentials to a shared namespace as well as topics for the individual objects that need to be configured. We will use the data to feed a simple visualization that will present the common energy production per power type.

Groups

Wind

  1. Jennifer, Mara, Felix (wind1)
  2. Lilian, Randy (wind2)

Water

  1. Melanie, Marcial, Michelle (water1)
  2. Duy, Fiona, Colin (water2)

Solar

  1. Claudia, Stefan, Janina (solar1)
  2. Andrin, Edna, Dominik (solar2)

Deliverables

Individual

Group

Expectations and Grading

Grades will be based on group presentations, class participation, home assignments, documentation (journal) and final work. An attendance of min. 80% is required to pass the course.

Presentation

For the presentation you will need to bring your objects to 4.T33. Ensure that your project is connected to shiftr.io using the MKR100 with the shared name space for the Zauberwald project  (you will be briefed how to do this). A simple visualisation has been prepared to show the outputs on the screen in the seminar room.  

Schedule

Morning: 09:00 - 12:00 Uhr, Afternoon: 13:30 - 17:00 Uhr

W1

Tuesday 9.10

Wednesday 10.10

Thursday 11.10

Friday 12.10

Morning

Kick-off
JG, LF - 4.T06 - 09:00

Electricity Basics
Resistors, LED's

JG, LF - 4.T06

Analog Input
Analog Sensors 
Voltage Divider
Smoothing
JG - 4.T06 - 09:00

Transistors
Motors, Solenoids
Servo Motors
LF - 4.K14 - 09:00

Digital Components
Digital Interfaces
I2C, SPI, UART
Neo Pixel, Ultra Sonic
JG, LF - 4.K14 - 09.00

Afternoon

Digital Output
Pulse Width Modulation
Digital Input Debouncing
JG, LF, 4.T06 - 13:30

Soldering
Arduino & Processing
Serial Communication

JG - 4.T06 - 13:30

ICs, H-Bridges
LF - 4.K14 - 13:30

Bits & Atoms III
FW - 4.K14 - 15.00

Individual Work
Cleanup, Material Check
JG, LF - 4.K14 - 09.00-15.00

W2

Tuesday 16.10

Wednesday 17.10

Thursday 18.10

Friday 19.10

Morning

EAGLE CAD
LF - 3.K10 - 09.00

Individual Repetition

Ideation

Afternoon

PCB Milling
LF - 3.E07-A - 13.30

Networking
JG - 3.E07-A - 13:30

Project Kickoff
JG, LF, JS, EWZ - 4.T06 - 13.00

Bits & Atoms III
JG - 4.T06 - 15.00

Concept

W3

Tuesday 23.10

Wednesday 24.10

Thursday 25.10

Friday 26.10

Morning

Short Presentation
JG, LF - 3.E07-A - 09.00

Mentoring
JG, LF - 3.E07-A - 10.30

Mentoring
LF, JG - 3.E07-A - 09.00

PrototypingPrototyping
Afternoon

Prototyping

Prototyping

Mentoring

JG, LF - Lab - 13.30-15.00

Prototyping

W4

Tuesday 30.10

Wednesday 31.10

Thursday 01.11

Friday 02.11

Morning

Build

Build

Build

Bits & Atoms III
JG - 5.D02 - 09.00

Afternoon

Mentoring
LF, JG - Atelier - 13.30

Build

Final Presentation
LF, JG - 4.T33 - 15:00

Documentation