TS.2B – Tool Seminar
Physical Computing
Arduino, Motors, LEDs, Sensors
Faculty: Raul Nieves



The Physical Computing Module should be an opportunity to develop novel means of interacting and actuating. During the module, you will advance your studio project by developing custom sense capabilities related to capacitive sensing. Special emphasis will be placed on how we can interact with everyday objects that otherwise have no embedded agency beyond their physical presence.


BRIEF: Second Life

Most of the objects we live with start their coexistence with us with the most basic agency of presence: they exist in a place. Over time, the experiences we have with these objects gives them layers of meaning which elevates their agency to that of sentimental presence: they exist and have meaning. We are also living in a time where designers have the capability to create ‘smart’ objects which might begin their coexistence with us not only as something with presence, but somehow augmented with additional capabilities. One could argue that these capabilities limit our ability to interact and accumulate experience with these objects. To qualify an entity as ‘smart’ has almost become a derogatory term (Smart Car, Smart City, Smart Spoon).
In a domestic setting, many the objects we coexist with are not ‘smart’, that is, they have not been designed with any additional agency in mind. Furthermore, many objects never reach a sentimental presence. Can we invent new ways of interacting with our domestic objects in order to give them a Second Life?
At the end of the Physical Computing module you will produce an interactive object sourced from a second hand market or shop (such as Encants Market). These objects should be domestic in nature, have a basic agency of presence, and have a specific relationship to eating, cooking, gastronomy (i.e. plates, bowls, forks, knives, spoons, napkins, chairs, etc). These objects should be given a Second Life through embedded sensors and actuators in order to augment our experience utilising them.
Which object you choose and how you choose to augmented should be related to your studio project concept and should serve as a milestone for developing your overall studio project.


WORKSHOP: Making Sense

The workshop sessions will focus on reinforcing the knowledge gained from the Term 1 Physical Computing Seminar. Special attention will be placed on developing novel means of sensing through the use of generic capacitive sense concepts for custom sensor development and motor actuation.