Art 483 | Fundamentals of Interface Design | Winter 2007

Course Overview

An Exploration in Interaction Design Systems with Robots, Sensors, and Programs

This studio course, an exploration in the practice of interaction design, aims to induce students to think beyond interfaces as 2-dimensional artifacts, constrained in the frame of a display and operated by buttons and alternative input means. Instead, we will create interactive behaviors and experiences that play out in time and space.

The vehicle for this exploration will be the LEGO system of programmable robots called Mindstorms, which were developed at the MIT Media Lab, in Mitchel Resnick's Lifelong Kindergarten research group, following the seminal work by Seymour Papert introducing computers into children's education.

Mindstorms combines the familiar LEGO construction kits with a small microprocessor "brick" and various motors and sensors, plus a visual programming language. Using this system, students will build robots and develop programs that determine the robots' actions as they react to their environment and various unanticipated external events. Students are thus designing interactive behaviors for their robotic creations.

In the technologically sophisticated design arena of today, designers need to be well-versed in the practice of interaction design and comfortable collaborating with many different types of practitioners. While designers need not master robotics software engineering, by learning the vocabulary and capabilities of technology systems and by experiencing a different approach to problem solving, they can expand their palette of tools.

UW | Division of Design | Interaction Design
Art 483 | Fundamentals of Interface Design
Winter 2007 | Tue / Thu 2:30–5:20

Andrew Davidson | Affiliate Assistant Professor
Axel Roesler | Assistant Professor