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Some time in weeks 1 - 3: Attend a tool safety session in the shop

For each week, you'll find:

  • Practice Topics we'll discuss in class. Course notes are linked so you can read them before class, to know what we're talking about.
  • Lab assignments that illustrate the practice topics. You should read through the labs and try as much as you can the week before the lab is discussed in class. We'll go over the principles in the lab in class, so bring your hardware, and you'll get a chance to try it while we discuss, and ask questions. You'll be responsible to show at least one lab finished lab project in the first half of the semester in class. Your instructor will pick the next week's lab presenters at random each week.
  • Production assignments larger assignments which have scheduled times you'll be expected to show them in class.
  • Reading to be read in the week they're assigned. Will come up in discussion the week after, usually.
  • Blog assignments Writing the week when it's assigned. Will come up in class from time to time. Read each other's stuff too.

Come to class with questions prepared about that week's assignments. If you have no questions, be prepared to show a working version of what you made.

Week 1

Practice Topics:

Labs:

Assignment:

Blog:

After seeing the MoMA exhibit, and reading Chris Crawford's definition, how would you define physical interaction? What makes for good physical interaction? Are there works from "Talk to Me" or others that you would say are good examples of digital technology that are not interactive?

READING:

  • Crawford, The Art of Interactive Design, chapters 1 and 2 (note: you will need to sign into NYUHome to view this. From your NYUHome home page, click "Research" then "books24x7.com" then search for "The Art of Interactive Design" by Chris Crawford. Alternately, try this link. )

Week 2

Practice Topics:

Labs:

  • Lab: Analog in

Blog:

Sensor walk. Take a walk around your neighborhood, or a different one. Take a count of every interaction with a sensor you see. These might include:
  • Pushbuttons on an ATM
  • motion sensors on doors, faucets, etc.
  • Floor mats
  • Cameras
Take pictures or video as appropriate, of the most interesting ones.

Assignment:

Fantasy Device. Think of a fantasy device you've always wanted. Doesn't have to be physically possible, but it has to have a physical interface. Design what the physical interface was. Document your design on your blog, and bring it in for the class. Your mock-up doesn't have to work, and it can be made out of any materials you're comfortable with. Make this a quick sketch, just enough so that your classmates have a sense of what they would do to use your device.

Week 3

PRESENT THIS WEEK:

  • Fantasy Device

Practice Topics:

Labs:

  • Lab: Electronics

Assignment:

Stupid Pet Trick. Make a simple physically interactive device that uses the skills you've learned in the labs. It must respond to a physical action or series of actions a person takes, and it must be amusing, surprising, or otherwise engaging.It doesn't have to be practical, or complex, as long it shows that you understand the basics of digital and analog I/O and how to use them. If you're unfamiliar with the term "stupid pet trick," Googling the term may provide you inspiration for the tone of this project.
Examples:
  • a love-o-meter, a device that tells you what a good lover you are, based on how it measures some action you take
  • a combination lock, a device whose response is "unlocked" by a specific series of actions in a particular order from the user
  • a light mixer, a device that mixes colors of light from some analog input (to simplify, use LEDs as lights)
  • a tone mixer, same concept as the light mixer, but that mixes audible tones

READING:

Week 4

Practice Topics:

Labs:

  • Lab: servo/analog out
  • Lab: Tone output

READING:

Week 5

PRESENT THIS WEEK:

  • Stupid Pet Trick

Assignment:

Media controller project. Make a physical device that controls a medium. It should control the medium in real-time, so that the user can change her actions and see changes as they affect the medium. There are lots of media: digital video, digital audio, electronic or acoustic sound, physical media like paint or ink, and others. Think about paint brushes, video mixers, musical instruments, water faucets, sewing machines -- anything that can control a medium and let you see the changes as you vary your control is fair game.'
This is a group assignment. Groups will be arranged in class this week.

READING:

Week 6

Practice Topics:

LAB:

  • Lab: Serial Output

Blog:

Observation. Pick a piece of interactive technology in public, used by multiple people. Write down your assumptions as to how it's used, and describe the context in which it's being used. Watch people use it, preferably without them knowing they're being observed. Take notes on how they use it, what they do differently, what appear to be the difficulties, what appear to be the easiest parts. Record what takes the longest, what takes the least amount of time, and how long the whole transaction takes. Consider how the readings from Norman and Crawford reflect on what you see.

Week 7

Practice Topics:

  • serial communication week 2
    • multiple sensors
    • Interpreting bytes: ASCII vs. binary
    • handshaking/call-and-response

Labs:

  • Lab: Multiple Serial Output

READING:

Week 8

Practice Topics:

Labs:

Week 9

PRESENT THIS WEEK: media controller.

Assignment:

Final project. Create a physically interactive system of your choice. Your focus in this assignment should be on careful and timely sensing of the relevant actions of the person or people that you're designing this for, and on clear, prompt, and effective response. Any interactive system is going to involve systems of listening, thinking, and speaking from both parties. Whether it involves one cycle or many, the exchange should be engaging.
Document your work thoroughly online as you go. Include details of all phases of the project. Include a project summary as well, explaining what the system you built is, what it does, and what purpose it's intended to serve. Your summary should introduce the project.
A few examples:
Musical Instruments. Performing music involves a sustained engagement between the performer and the instrument. The feedback fro mthe instrument has to be immediate and clear in order for the performer to continue playing. The interface has to be flexible so that the musician can exercise her creativity in playing, but has to have some boundaries so that she knows what the instrument can do and what it can't do.
Game interfaces. Like musical instruments, they involve constant back-and-forth interaction and immediate response. They are often simpler than musical instruments. In fact, the standard game controller has gotten so standard that the action of many games is artificially adapted to the needs of the controller, not the physical expressiveness of the player. Pick a specific game and see if you can change that.
Assistive devices. Whether it's something as simple as a reaching device (think of pickle pickers) or something more complex, these devices are very demanding of clear, reliable response.
Remote control systems. They require not only a clear interface, but must also return enough information on the remote system's action to let you know that you're doing the right thing. Whether it's a remote controller for your home electrical devices or a Mars rover controller, the need for clarity and good feedback are equally essential to the person who it's made for.
There are many other good applications for this project. Discuss the specifics of yours with your instructor.

Week 10

Practice Topics:

  • complex data communications
    • configuration vs. communication (command move vs. data mode)
    • addressing
    • Bluetooth serial as example
    • protocols discussion
    • Optional Bluetooth Lab

Blog:

  • Final Project concept. Explain the concept of your final project online. Write it and/or illustrate it so that readers who are not in this class can get a clear and concise idea of what you plan to make for the final.

Week 11

  • present finals in progress. Critique concepts and interaction

READING:

Week 12

  • present in progress, Critique concepts and interaction

Blog:

  • describe the technical system for your final project.

Week 13

  • final project workshop. Discuss any remaining technical issues

Week 14

PRESENT THIS WEEK:

  • Final Project

Blog:

  • finish the documentation for your final project.
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