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.

Details for 2021

A mechanical flower that “grows” the more exercise I do? Or it dies when I drink too little? Or if I don’t water my real flower?

This year we are developing “Shape-Changing Artifacts”, which are able to change their physical shape all by themselves. For example, individual actuation may change their geometry, volume, surface, or bend. These objects are to be employed to positively influence the behavior of the user.
Based on a combination of sensors, WiFi-enabled microcontrollers, electromechanical actuators, and individual mechanics, we want to construct interactive and meaningful objects for private use. You will learn all the necessary components and techniques in the first week of the workshop so that you can apply them directly to your own project in the following week.

We are currently working on all details regarding this course. Further details will be published online via OPAL.

Date and Scope

  • Course format: Practical laboratory course, 0/0/4P
  • Period: 10.09.20 till 08.10.20
    (core time: 13.09. till 01.10.20, full-day)
Calendar week 36
Kick-Off Meeting
13.00-16.00, APB-1004
Calendar week 37
13.09.21 till 17.09.21
Workshops & induction training
Further information will follow.
Calendar week 38
20.09.21 till 24.09.21
Supervised practical work
Further information will follow.
Calendar week 39
27.09.21 till 01.10.21
Individual practical work
Further information will follow.
Final Presentation (01.10.21, 13.00-16.00, APB-E067)
Calendar week 40
04.10.21 till 08.10.21
Follow-up time for the project documentation
Finalization of the project documentation.

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

INF-B-510, INF-B-520, INF-B-530, INF-B-540, INF-MA-PR, INF-VMI-4


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