Course description

In the practical laboratory course “Foundations of Physical Computing”, we teach theoretical basics as well as practical knowledge for the development of interactive, physical prototypes. Therefore, we first look into the electronic basics, and will test and discuss components and circuits using small examples. In addition, participants will learn how to use sensors, actuators and displays by using the Arduino microcontroller. The learned knowledge will be deepened by creating practical examples and accompanying in-depth lectures and exercises. Furthermore, CAD modelling and its physical fabrication using a 3D printer are also part of the seminar. In addition, participants will also gain insights into wearables, e-textiles and smart materials and manufacture their own textile touch and pressure sensors. In parallel, each project group will also work on a practical project in which own prototypes for human-computer interaction will be developed and presented at the end of the course.

This year’s course theme will focus on novel visualisation and interface concepts that go beyond conventional approaches and make use of tangible input and output modalities. Participants will develop small tangible SmartTokens (e.g., textile or magnetic buttons, body-worn accessories) for ubiquitous applications that can help users to utilize personal data in their daily life. This can involve SmartTokens that enable, for example, implicit or explicit tracking of behaviors and habits, providing immediate ambient feedback (e.g., using light or vibrotactile stimuli), and/or exploring captured personal data by using linked visualization displays (e.g., in-situ displays, mobile companion apps, or physical data representations).

Date and scope of the course work

  • Course format: Practical laboratory course, 0/0/4P
  • Time schedule: 14/09/20 till 09/10/20
    (core and presence time: 18/09/20 till 02/10/20, full-day)
Calendar week 38
14/09/20 till 18/09/20
Preparation and Kick-Off
Installation of required software, induction training, idea brainstorming.
Kick-Off Event: Friday, 18.09., time to be announced.
Calendar week 39
21/09/20 till 25/09/20
Core and presence time of the practical laboratory course.
Further information will follow.
Calendar week 40
28/09/20 till 02/10/20
Core and presence time of the practical laboratory course.
Further information will follow.
Calendar week 41
05/10/20 till 09/10/20
Follow-up time for the project documentation
Finalization of the project documentation.
  • Course language: English

Course enrolment

Please note that the number of participants for this course is limited to a maximum of 12 participants.
Participants will be considered according to the order of registration.

Course credits



*All information about the course are preliminary and later changes are possible.