Carnegie Mellon University


Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology

New IDeATe Courses Added for Spring 2018

To accommodate growing demand and to give students more options, IDeATe has added three new portal courses and two new micro courses to its Spring 2018 offerings. Detailed information on the courses is below. Students should be able to register themselves for the courses. Questions or concerns can be sent to

Portal Courses

99-361 A IDeATe Portal: Inflatables and Soft Sculpture

This course is a portal for the Intelligent Environments area and is for students from any major.

Instructor: Olivia Robinson

In this course, students focus on the design, fabrication, and creative applications of sculptural and inflatable forms created from soft materials. Soft sculpture and inflatables have a rich history: from early inventions such as hot air balloons and zeppelins, to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, to highly inventive architectural structures, to sculptural works by contemporary artists. Students learn techniques for turning flexible, flat materials into three-dimensional forms by methods such as inflating with air, stuffing with materials, and holding with a rigid structure. Students learn to use the sewing machine as their primary tool for construction. Students explore patterning extensively, including working from found patterns as well as designing and creating their own. Students work at a range of scales - that which the body can hold and that which can hold the body. Students work both individually and in collaborative teams. What they make is informed by experimentation, readings, slides, and exploration of context.

99-361 B IDeATe Portal: Intelligent Environments

This course is a portal for the Intelligent Environments area and is for students from any major

Instructor: Nestor Gomez

Intelligent environments use modern technology (information systems, electronic sensing, physical computing, etc.) to enhance the human-space interactive experience, be it in home, office, industry, entertainment, agriculture, etc. This course highlights the motivation and requirements for intelligent environments and components that could be used to add functionality to existing environments. Students apply relevant technologies (Arduino, computer-controlled manufacturing, 3D modeling, etc.) to the built environment through the design and fabrication of working prototypes. The course enhances team management, documentation, and presentation skills through practical exercises and assignments.

99-361 C IDeATe Portal: Storytelling with Machine

This course is a portal for the Physical Computing area and is for students from any major

Instructors: Shraddha Joshi and Louise Larson

Students in this course fabricate basic machines that give life to stories of their designs. These basic machines, also called automata, have been used both for entertainment and tools for explaining scientific principles. From calculators to tea-serving karakuri puppets, automata are the historical predecessors of modern day computers and robots.  This course teaches students the basic elements of automaton mechanical systems while emphasizing the underlying physical principles. Students will develop an understanding of the principles and workings of elements, such as linkages, cams, and gears, which generate and convey mechanical motion. Students will use basic prototyping, design thinking strategies, and collaborative narrative building to design and build unique automata.  Computer Aided Design (CAD) and laser cutting will be used for the design and fabrication of mechanized narrative elements. The class will involve working in teams and emphasizes hands-on learning. The culminating challenge of this course will be to apply what is learned to design and build a final project—their story in motion.

Micro Courses

99-359 A3/B3 IDeATe: Inventor and 3D Printing

A3 will meet January 28th, February 4th, and February 11th

B3 will meet February 17th, February 24th, and March 3rd

Instructor: Louise Larson

This workshop is a hands-on introduction to the expansive world of 3D printing. 3D printing is a popular and versatile technology for quickly prototyping ideas. Students  learn prototyping basics and CAD software to create their own unique projects. Computer-controlled manufacturing process is driven by CAD design. The class time will explore the capabilities of 3D modeling and their transformation into a printable format. No technical experience is required, although basic knowledge of digital media creation, such as vector drawings, is helpful.

99-360 A3/B3 IDeATe: E-Textiles

A3 will meet January 19th, January 26th, and February 2nd

B3 will meet February 16th, February 23rd, and March 2nd

Instructor: Olivia Robinson

In this class, students learn to create active, responsive and flexible artifacts using microcontrollers, electroluminescence wire, muscle wire, and electronics embedded fabric. This course also provides an overview of what has been done in the field, the current state of the art in e-textiles, and the possibilities and difficulties that arise from working with flexible materials.