Teaching Interactivity: Introducing Design Students to Sensors and Microcontrollers

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The Eurographics Association
This paper presents an educational case study and its pedagogical lessons in the context of design teaching. Smart products, adaptive designs, and intelligent spaces are in the forefront of current artistic discourse. They are critical components in sustainable designs where products monitor their own performance and respond to consumers' real-time needs and environmental factors. In order to prepare students in the design field to be able to present interaction-based ideas more effectively, the author developed a project-based course to produce interactive prototypes using sensors, actuators, and microcontrollers. The author introduces instructions using practical template materials that can demonstrate certain key notions such as feedback and kinematics at the earlier phase of learning while providing minimum yet sufficient fundamental skills and theoretical background on programming and electronics. This strategy allows students to acquire extensible knowledge that does not rely on higher-level software functions or specialized but inflexible plug-ins. Students can reinterpret given materials and modify them to produce custom tools that can realize their original project goals. By presenting methods used in the author's course and conceptual example projects by students, an efficient way to teach relatively complex technical materials without overpowering student creativity and motivation will be offered.

, booktitle = {
Eurographics 2014 - Education Papers
}, editor = {
Jean-Jacques Bourdin and Joaquim Jorge and Eike Anderson
}, title = {{
Teaching Interactivity: Introducing Design Students to Sensors and Microcontrollers
}}, author = {
Narahara, Taro
}, year = {
}, publisher = {
The Eurographics Association
}, ISSN = {
}, ISBN = {}, DOI = {
} }