Carnegie Mellon University

IDeATe

Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology

Physical Computing

Computing was once an occasion, an event. It happened in a dedicated space for a limited amount of time. Over the last few decades, the barriers between computing devices and their users have slowly dissolved. The physical world is becoming a key interface for computing and the internet of things is becoming the next generation of connectivity.

Students in the Physical Computing concentration will explore the technical, experiential, and semantic issues of this evolution. They will address the key components of physical computing; from the fabrication of the interface and the development of the circuitry to the integration of component elements within different contexts. The embedding contexts range from mobile to the build environment and new creative practice instruments.

Physical Computing Minor - Minimum of 45 Units

One Computing Course - Minimum of 9 Units

  • 15-104 Introduction to Computing for Creative Practice
  • 15-110 Principles of Computing
  • 15-112 Fundamentals of Programming and Computer Science
  • 60-210 Electronic Media Studio: Introduction to Interactivity
  • 60-212 Electronic Media Studio: Interactivity and Computational Practice

One IDeATe Portal Course - Minimum of 9 Units

  • Recommended Portal Course for this area: 16-223 IDeATe Portal: Creative Kinetic Systems
  • Recommended Portal Course for this area: 60-223 IDeATe Introduction to Physical Computing
  • 18-090 Twisted Signals: Multimedia Processing for the Arts
  • 60-218 IDeATe Portal: Real-Time Animation
  • 62-150 Introduction to Media Synthesis and Analysis
  • 99-361 IDeATe Portal

IDeATe Physical Computing Courses - Minimum of 27 Units

  • 05-333 Gadgets, Sensors, and Activity Recognition in HCI
  • 05-540/18-540 Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems
  • 15-294 Rapid Prototyping Technologies
  • 15-394 Intermediate Rapid Prototyping
  • 16-375/54-375 Robotics for Creative Practice
  • 16-376 IDeATe: Kinetic Fabrics
  • 16-455/48-530 IDeATe: Human-Machine Virtuosity
  • 18-551 Digital Communication and Signal Processing Systems Design
  • 18-578 Mechatronic Design
  • 24-672 Special Topics in DIY Design and Fabrication
  • 39-245 Rapid Prototype Design
  • 48-339 IDeATe: Making Things Interactive
  • 48-528 Responsive Mobile Environments
  • 48-558/53-558 Reality Computing I
  • 48-559/53-559 Reality Computing II
  • 48-734 Reactive Spaces and Media Architecture
  • 62-315 Breeding Architecture: Computational Techniques for Shaping the Built Environment
  • 62-478 digiTOOL
  • Additional courses as available. Please check IDeATe Courses for the options for the current and upcoming semester.
Double-counting:  Students may double-count up to two of their IDeATe minor courses for other requirements.
Physical Computing Course Descriptions

Physical Computing Minor - Five Courses

One Portal course

  • 16-223 IDeATe Portal: Creative Kinetic Systems
  • 60-223 IDeATe Portal:  Introduction to Physical Computing
  • 99-361C IDeATe Portal: Storytelling with Machines

Four Collaborative and Supportive Courses

  • 05-540/18-540 Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems
  • 15-294 Rapid Prototyping Technologies
  • 15-394 Intermediate Rapid Prototyping
  • 16-374/60-428 Art of Robotic Special Effects
  • 16-375/54-375 Robotics for Creative Practice
  • 16-455/48-530 Human-Machine Virtuosity
  • 16-456/48-558 Reality Computing
  • 18-551 Digital Communication and Signal Processing Systems Design
  • 18-578 Mechatronic Design
  • 24-672 Special Topics in DIY Design and Fabrication
  • 39-245 Rapid Prototype Design
  • 48-339 Making Things Interactive
  • 48-390 Physical Computing Studio
  • 48-528 Responsive Mobile Environments
  • 48-559/53-559 Reality Computing II
  • 48-734 Reactive Spaces and Media Architecture
  • 60-412 Interactive Art and Computational Design
  • 62-315 Breeding Architecture: Computational Techniques for Shaping the Built Environment
  • 62-478 digiTOOL
  • 76-285 Team Communication

Note: Students also have the option of taking one Collaborative or Supportive course from one of the other IDeATe areas as an elective for their Physical Computing minor.

Double-counting: Students may double-count up to two of their IDeATe minor courses for other requirements.

Physical Computing Faculty

The Physical Computing faculty represent Carnegie Mellon's expertise in Architecture, Art, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Computer Science, and Robotics. They carefully oversee the collaboration of students while delivering the IDeATe Physical Computing courses.