Class 1

In-Class Activity

  • Introductions
  • What is physical interaction?
  • What does the user do? Observing people using interactive devices
  • Documenting:
    • Descriptions. pictures, videos

Fantasy Device – As a class, we’ll make a list of fantasy devices; things that don’t exist, but that we wish did. For today, we’ll ignore technical feasibility and concentrate on how you’d operate these devices if they did exist. You’ll be divided into groups of 3. Pick a fantasy device from the list. Design a control interface for this device and demonstrate it in­ class.

Think about what a person has to see, hear, touch, etc. while operating the device. Think about what cues they need to understand the interface. Think about what parts of their body they need to have free, what gestures are best for triggering the device’s behaviors, and so forth. Build a mock­up of the controls from anything you can find nearby. At the end of class, one or two of you will act out the use of the device using your mock­up while the third person narrates.

Assignments for next class

You’ll get your Arduino, breadboard, and some wires in class today. Gather the other basic parts and tools for this week’s labs from the shop, nad familiarize yourself with the tools.

Set up your Physical Computing Comp blog and e-mail the URL to your instructor.

Read or view the following material and try the labs below as soon as you have parts. Come to next class with questions:

Related Videos. These cover the same material as the notes above:


Do the labs below. Blog your progress and questions, and come to class next week with questions. We’ll discuss together.

Readings For Next Class

The following readings provide some context for thinking about physical interaction design. You won’t be quizzed on whether you’ve read these, but your instructor may refer to these ideas in future class discussions.