Physical Computing

Physical Computing

If you are looking for the old Electronics for Artists course, Physical Computing is based on that course and many of the teaching materials are the same.

Content #

This course introduces physical computing as a creative framework for investigating the connections between digital media and the physical world. Students explore electronics as a creative medium in the field of new media art and design through hands-on exercises and examples. The course covers some basic electronic concepts and theory, various analog circuits, prototyping your own circuits, microcontroller programming, working with sensors, using motors and other actuators, as well as using simple networking protocols.

A critical insight into maker culture and the environmental impact of the electronics industry is introduced through readings, discussions, examples, and thinking-through-practice. This hands-on with minds-on approach is called Critical Making, a term that describes the bridging of two modes of designerly or artistic practices that are often considered separate—critical thinking and making things. Physical Computing is a course that uses Critical Making as a strategy for learning and artistic research.

This is not an engineering course. The course focuses on creative use of electronics and hardware hacking, not on the theory and the most efficient circuit design. The course will also go through some essential tips for safety, use of various tools, best practices, and how to take care of the equipment and facilities.

Learning Outcomes #

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and explain the roles of physical computing and critical making in the field of new media art.
  2. Interpret electronic circuit schematics.
  3. Use sensors and other input devices to convert human interactions and other inputs from the physical world into digital data.
  4. Process and map input data using microcontroller programming.
  5. Control and use motors, lights, and other output devices.
  6. Use simple networking protocols to communicate between different devices.
  7. Design and create physical computing prototypes and interactive artworks.

Workload #

6 ECTS ≈ 160h

Contact teaching 60h

  • Lectures: 36h
  • Tutored hands-on assignments during classes: 24h

Independent study

  • Time to think and prepare for the lectures: 60h
  • Other independent work: 40h

Evaluation #

A successful completion of the course requires the following:

  • Active participation in class (miminum 80% attendance).
  • Completed assignments.
  • Completed final project.
  • Completed documentation.

This course is evaluated with a grade between 0-5.

  • 5 Excellent
  • 4 Very good
  • 3 Good
  • 2 Satisfactory
  • 1 Passable
  • 0 Fail

What is being evaluated? #

  • Final Project and documentation of the project | 50% of the grade
  • Completed assignments and their documentation | 25% of the grade
  • Avtive attendance | 25% of the grade

How are these things evaluated #

The evaluation is based on the following:

Final Project

  • The final project itself
    • Aesthetic quality of the work
    • Novelty and creativity of the concept
    • Critical approach to the topic
    • Command of the technology
    • Attention to detail
  • Your documentation website
    • Detail of the documentation
    • Use of sketches, images, videos
    • Ability to reflect on your learning process

Completed assignments

  • Detail of the documentation of your assignments
  • Ability to reflect on your learning process
  • Note that you do not need to necessarily succeed in the assignemnts to do well. Trying, failing and trying to understand why things didn’t work out can be as valuable (or even more valuable) as succeeding.

Active attendance

  • You need to be present minimum 80% of the classes
  • Each missed class (without a valid reason such as illness etc.) will affect your atttendance grade negatively.
  • Each time you arrive late in class will affect your attendace grade negatively.
  • Active participation and attitude in class will affect your attendance grade positively.
  • Helping others will affect your attendance grade positively

Schedule 2022 #

Each week is divided into three classes just like they are divided here on this website.

  • Mondays: A thematic lecture that provides context for the topic of the course. Also presents the assignmnets and deliverables for each week.
  • Tuesdays: Hands-on demonstrations and work on small assignments.
  • Thursdays: Hands-on demonstrations and work on small assignments.

Period 2 #

Week 1 | Introduction #

TIME MON 24/10 TUE 25/10 WED 26/10 THU 27/10 FRI 28/10
12:00–13:00 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕
13:15–15:00 Introduction to Electronics Introduction to Microcontrollers (Arduino)
15:15–17:00 Introduction to Physical Computing

Week 2 | Sensing the World #

TIME MON 31/10 TUE 01/11 WED 02/11 THU 03/11 FRI 04/11
12:00–13:00 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕
13:15–15:00 Input: Simple Sensors Input: Digital Sensors
15:15–17:00 Alt+Ctrl Games

Week 3 | Making Things Move #

TIME MON 07/11 TUE 08/11 WED 09/11 THU 10/11 FRI 11/11
12:00–13:00 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕
13:15–15:00 Output: Motors & Actuators \Digital LEDs Build a Robot
15:15–17:00 Making Things Move

Week 4 | Communication #

TIME MON 14/11 TUE 15/11 WED 16/11 THU 17/11 FRI 18/11
12:00–13:00 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕
13:15–15:00 Communication: Serial, Keyboard, Mouse, HID Communication: WiFi, OSC
15:15–17:00 Project Proposal Presentations

Week 5 | Project Work #

TIME MON 21/11 TUE 22/11 WED 23/11 THU 24/11 FRI 25/11
12:00–13:00 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕
13:15–15:00 Project Work Project Work
15:15–17:00 Levels of Prototyping

Week 6 | Project Work #

TIME MON 28/11 TUE 29/11 WED 30/11 THU 01/12 FRI 02/12
12:00–13:00 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕
13:15–15:00 Project Work Project Work
15:15–17:00 Digital Fabrication courses

Week 7 (Workshop Week) | Project Work #

TIME MON 05/12 TUE 06/12 WED 07/12 THU 08/12 FRI 09/12
09:15–12:00 Project Work INDEPENDENCE DAY Project Work Project Work Exhibition Setup
12:00–13:00 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 INDEPENDENCE DAY 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕 🥗🍜🍱🍝🍕
13:15–15:00 Project Work INDEPENDENCE DAY Project Work Exhibition Setup Exhibition Setup
15:15–17:00 Project Work INDEPENDENCE DAY Project Work Exhibition Setup Exhibition opening