70 502 Interaction Design 1: Tangible Interactions

Prerequisites

Passed foundation level. Suitable experience in interaction design for external entrants NOTE: this course is REQUIRED for Master of Design (Interaction) specialism.

Course content

Interaction Design 1 - Tangible Interactions - launches students into the world of interaction design by focusing on core skills and materials used in designing physical and digital interactions.
The course embraces and explores the creative opportunities made possible by recent developments in physical computing, sensor technologies and mobile devices, to consider physical everyday objects (embedded with switches, sensors and microcontrollers) as augmented interfaces for controlling digitally mediated experiences.
We focus on how humans interact with such objects and materials, and how their functionality, meaning and usage can be extended. The course provides students with the possibility to take part in an exploration of new social interaction patterns, to conceptualise and design demonstrators and working prototypes that address a unique set of design problems.
This is a practice-led course, and will also provide students with a broad toolset of skills and techniques relevant across the board in interaction design, starting with a series of short workshops dealing with a range of physical interaction technologies and approaches that lead into larger projects.
The practical aspects of the course will be complemented by a series of lectures and talks by a range of practitioners and specialists in the field. Course tasks will focus on specific areas of application for tangible interaction; in previous years this has included museum exhibits, toys and musical installations.
Most students will then proceed to Interaction Design 2, where the skills learnt here will be applied to information and data analysis and presentation, using other interactive and audiovisual platforms – for example public multitouch screens, ubiquitous and mobile devices.

Learning outcomes

Students will
explore connections between interaction design and industrial design
get an overview of research and projects within the field of physical computing and the history of tangible interactions and design; the approaches, issues and challenges faced by designers in the field
Gain an understanding of historical and current technologies and practical applications, including basic electronics and Arduino (www.arduino.cc).
Explore and practice interaction design methodology, embodied interaction, realtime interaction and social computing in a physical context.
Develop a critical framework and approach for the analysis and discussion of work in the field
Understand the possibilities of working with interaction design within specific contexts;
Design interactive objects with a focus on engaging experiences for communication, education and play.
All students will be taught methods and tools to make working physical prototypes, and gain basic practical abilities with electronics. Students will have the opportunity to work with Arduino microcontrollers, smartphone, Processing code and a broad range of sensors for prototyping and design-testing.

Working and learning activities

The course is based upon hands-on learning through doing by experimenting with physical interaction: using sensors and materials, processing data, and creating feedback and responses. The course contains a mix of workshops that will give students an understanding of tangible interactions and the practicalities of electronics, sensors and actuators. The course also contains other major assignments were the students work individually or in pairs and develop their own project along a specific theme or brief.
In workshops, the course encourages experimentation and reflection. Students are encouraged to play with interactive prototypes using both physical materials and digital programming. The goal is to re-evaluate tradition and develop novel, yet natural and appropriate solutions.
Areas covered:
Designing tangible interactions and novel ways of using them.
Using a range of interface technologies.
Using different senses for interaction, like touch or movement.
Incorporating sensors into objects, environments and structures.
Designing systems and devices of appropriate size and ergonomics.
Design methodologies for interaction design and physical computing.
The practical aspects of the course will be complemented by a series of lectures and talks by leading exponents and practitioners in the field, covering a wide range of issues associated with tangible interactions.

Professor in charge

Assistant Professor Nicholas Stevens

Assessment

Assessment Date Duration Grade scale Oral examination
Prosessvurdering underveis Pass / Fail