Carnegie Mellon University

IDeATe

Integrative Design, Arts, and Technology

Portal Courses

16-223 Introduction to Physical Computing

Physical computing refers to the design and construction of physical systems that use a mix of software and hardware to sense and respond to the surrounding world. Such systems blend digital and physical processes into toys and gadgets, kinetic sculpture, functional sensing and assessment tools, mobile instruments, interactive wearables, and more. This is a project-based course that deals with all aspects of conceiving, designing and developing projects with physical computing: the application, the artifact, the computer-aided design environment, and the physical prototyping facilities. The course is organized around a series of practical hands-on exercises which introduce the fundamentals of circuits, embedded programming, sensor signal processing, simple mechanisms, actuation, and time-based behavior. The key objective is gaining an intuitive understanding of how information and energy move between the physical, electronic, and computational domains to create a desired behavior. The exercises provide building blocks for collaborative projects which utilize the essential skills and challenge students to not only consider how to make things, but also for whom we design, and why the making is worthwhile.

This course is an IDeATe Portal Course for entry into either of the IDeATe Intelligent Environments or Physical Computing programs. CFA/DC/TSB students can enroll under 16-223; CIT/MCS/SCS students can enroll in the 60-223 version of the course. Please note that there will be a materials fee associated with this course.

Upon completion of this course the students will be able to:

  • work in a mixed physical-digital environment and laboratory
  • make effective use of standard hardware and software tools for physical computing
  • approach complex physical computing problems with a systematic overview that integrates iterative research and design steps
  • generate systems specifications from a perceived needpartition functionality between hardware and software
  • produce interface specifications for a system composed of numerous subsystems
  • use computer-aided development tools for design, fabrication and testing and debugging evaluate the system in the context of an end user application or experience.

Fall 2017 instructor: Garth Zeglin

Program: Intelligent Environments Physical Computing

Offered by: Robotics Institute

60-223 Introduction to Physical Computing

Physical computing refers to the design and construction of physical systems that use a mix of software and hardware to sense and respond to the surrounding world. Such systems blend digital and physical processes into toys and gadgets, kinetic sculpture, functional sensing and assessment tools, mobile instruments, interactive wearables, and more. This is a project-based course that deals with all aspects of conceiving, designing and developing projects with physical computing: the application, the artifact, the computer-aided design environment, and the physical prototyping facilities. The course is organized around a series of practical hands-on exercises which introduce the fundamentals of circuits, embedded programming, sensor signal processing, simple mechanisms, actuation, and time-based behavior. The key objective is gaining an intuitive understanding of how information and energy move between the physical, electronic, and computational domains to create a desired behavior. The exercises provide building blocks for collaborative projects which utilize the essential skills and challenge students to not only consider how to make things, but also for whom we design, and why the making is worthwhile.

This course is an IDeATe Portal Course for entry into either of the IDeATe Intelligent Environments or Physical Computing programs. CFA/DC/TSB students can enroll under 16-223; CIT/MCS/SCS students can enroll in the 60-223 version of the course. Please note that there will be a materials fee associated with this course.

Upon completion of this course the students will be able to:

  • work in a mixed physical-digital environment and laboratory
  • make effective use of standard hardware and software tools for physical computing
  • approach complex physical computing problems with a systematic overview that integrates iterative research and design steps
  • generate systems specifications from a perceived needpartition functionality between hardware and software
  • produce interface specifications for a system composed of numerous subsystems
  • use computer-aided development tools for design, fabrication and testing and debugging evaluate the system in the context of an end user application or experience.

Fall 2017 instructor: Jet Townsend

Program: Intelligent Environments Physical Computing

Offered by: Art

Collaborative and Supportive Courses

16-456/48-558 Advanced Topics in Reality Computing: The Adaptive Home

The Adaptive House is the focus of an advanced design studio based around the collaborative development of reality computing applications within a residential prototype. Reality computing encompasses a constellation of technologies focused around capturing reality (laser scanning, photogrammetry), working with spatial data (CAD, physical modeling, simulation), and using data to interact with and influence the physical world (augmented/virtual reality, projector systems, 3d printing, robotics). This studio will use reality computing to understand existing homes, define modes of augmentation, and influence the design of houses yet to be built through full scale prototyping. The objective of the course will be the production of a house that moves beyond the notion of being "smart," but is actively adapted towards its inhabitants' needs and capabilities. Topics of special focus within the course are residential design (John Folan), augmented reality and robotics (Pyry Matikainen), and indoor flying robots (Manuela Veloso and Nina Barbuto). This course is presented with the support and cooperation of Autodesk, Inc. (Please note that there may be lab/materials fees associated with this course.)

Fall 2016 instructors: Pyry Matikainen, John Folan

Fall 2015 course website: www.rc16456.com

Programs: Intelligent Environments, Media Design, Physical Computing

Offered by: Architecture, Robotics Institute

18-551 Digital Communication and Signal Processing Systems Design

This course provides the student with a rich, in-depth design and application hardware project experience in the areas of digital communications and/or signal processing systems using DSP hardware. Teams of students work on a semester-long project of their choice. Topics include: speech and music processing, digital communications, multimedia processing, data compression, data storage, wireless communications, CD, image and/or signal processing, etc. One month of introductory laboratories familiarize the students with DSP hardware and support software. Lectures address z-transforms, IIR and FIR filter design using MATLAB and DSP hardware, LPC and adaptive filters, channel coding, time and frequency multiplexing, short time Fourier and wavelet transforms, and spread spectrum techniques. 4 hrs. lec., 3 hrs. lab.

Spring 2015 instructors: Marios Savvides and Thomas Sullivan

Programs: Media Design, Physical Computing

Offered by: Electrical and Computer Engineering

62-478 digiTOOL

This IDeATe-affiliated course serves as an introduction to the fundamental concepts, processes, and procedures to utilize digital and traditional equipment within the IDeATe@Hunt Library facilities. After completion, participating students should leave with a thorough understanding of laser cutting/engraving, 3D printing, CNC routing, and traditional woodworking equipment/processes; and how to operate in a safe, responsible, and efficient manner. This comprehension and experience proves useful for all creative disciplines, and participants are certified for future fabrication equipment access.

Programs: Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Media Design, Physical Computing

Offered by: College of Fine Arts

16-455/48-530 Human-Machine Virtuosity

Human dexterous skill embodies a wealth of physical understanding which complements computer-based design and machine fabrication. This project-oriented course explores the duality between hand and machine through the practical development of innovative design and fabrication systems. These systems fluidly combine the expressivity and intuition of physical tools with the scalability and precision of the digital realm. Students will develop novel hybrid design and production workflows combining analog and digital processes to support the design and fabrication of their chosen projects. Specific skills covered include 3D scanning, 3D modeling (CAD), 3D printing (additive manufacturing), computer based sensing, and human-robot interaction design. Areas of interest include architecture, art, and product design.

Spring 2015 instructors: Garth Zeglin and Joshua Bard

Spring 2015 course website: Human-Machine Virtuosity

Program: Intelligent Environments Physical Computing

Offered by: Architecture, Robotics Institute

15-394 Intermediate Rapid Prototyping

This course covers additional topics in rapid prototyping beyond the content of 15-294 Rapid Prototyping Technologies. Example topics include mechanism design, procedural shape generation using Grasshopper, 3D scanning and mesh manipulation, and advanced SolidWorks concepts. The only prerequisite is basic familiarity with SolidWorks, which can be obtained via 15-294 Rapid Prototyping Technologies, from other CMU courses, or from online tutorials.

Spring 2017 instructor: Dave Touretzky

Program: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Media Design Physical Computing

Offered by: Computer Science

18-578 Mechatronic Design

Mechatronics is the synergistic integration of mechanism, electronics, and computer control to achieve a functional system. Because of the emphasis upon integration, this course will center around system integration in which small teams of students will configure, design, and implement a succession of mechatronic subsystems, leading to a main project. Lectures will complement the laboratory experience with comparative surveys, operational principles, and integrated design issues associated with the spectrum of mechanism, electronics, and control components. Class lectures will cover topics intended to complement the laboratory work, including mechanisms, actuators, motor drives, sensors and electronic interfaces, microcontroller hardware and programming and basic controls. During the first week of class, each student will be asked to complete a questionnaire about their technical background. The class will then be divided into multi-disciplinary teams of three students. During the first half of the class, lab assignments will be made every 1-2 weeks to construct useful subsystems based on material learned in lecture. The lab assignments are geared to build to the main project. This course is cross-listed as 16-778 and 24-778. Students in other departments may take the course upon availability of slots with permission of instructor. Non ECE students may take the course upon availability of slots with permission of the instructor.

Spring 2015 instructor: John Dolan

Program: Physical Computing

Offered by: Electrical and Computer Engineering

48-390 Physical Computing Studio

This collaborative studio course will allow interdisciplinary teams to develop wearables with a focus on assistive technology. The ubiquitous nature of mobile devices coupled with low-cost and easily integrated sensors and actuators make this a good time to approach real problems for a range of users from the physically disabled to athletes. Teams will learn skills in hardware, software, fabrication, and design communication in order to effectively develop and share their ideas.

Spring 2017 instructor: John Mars

Program: Physical Computing

Offered by: Architecture

39-245 Rapid Prototype Design

This course provides an introduction to rapid design through virtual and physical prototyping. The class covers the engineering design process, problem solving methods, interdisciplinary team work, current industrial practice, and manufacturing process capabilities. The course emphasizes hands on learning. Sophomores have priority while registering for this course. Juniors and seniors will be put on the waitlist, then released once sophomores have registered.

Program: Physical Computing

Offered by: College of Engineering

18-540 Rapid Prototyping of Computer Systems

This is a project-oriented course which will deal with all four aspects of project development; the application, the artifact, the computer-aided design environment, and the physical prototyping facilities. The class, in conjunction with the instructors, will develop specifications for a mobile computer to assist in inspection and maintenance. The application will be partitioned between human computer interaction, electronics, industrial design, mechanical, and software components. The class will be divided into groups to specify, design, and implement the various subsystems. The goal is to produce a working hardware/software prototype of the system and to evaluate the user acceptability of the system. We will also monitor our progress in the design process by capturing our design escapes (errors) with the Orthogonal Defect Classification (ODC). Upon completion of this course the student will be able to: generate systems specifications from a perceived need; partition functionality between hardware and software; produce interface specifications for a system composed of numerous subsystems; use computer-aided design tools; fabricate, integrate, and debug a hardware/software system; and evaluate the system in the context of an end user application. Senior standing is required.

Spring 2015 instructors: Daniel Siewiorek and Asim Smailagic

Program: Intelligent Environments Physical Computing

Offered by: Electrical and Computer Engineering

15-294 Rapid Prototyping Technologies

This mini-course introduces students to rapid prototyping technologies with a focus on laser cutting and 3D printing. The course has three components: 1) A survey of rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing technologies, the maker and open source movements, and societal impacts of these technologies; 2) An introduction to the computer science behind these technologies: CAD tools, file formats, slicing algorithms; 3) Hands-on experience with SolidWorks, laser cutting, and 3D printing, culminating in student projects (e.g. artistic creations, functional objects, replicas of famous calculating machines, etc.). Please note that there will be a usage/materials fee for this course.

Fall 2016 instructor: David Touretzky

Spring 2016 course website: 15-294 Rapid Prototyping Technologies

Program: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Media Design Physical Computing

Offered by: Computer Science

48-734 Reactive Spaces and Media Architecture

How can embedded computation change the way we experience our surroundings? What is the value of creating dynamic spaces? This class will focus on the design and prototyping of reactive spaces. Over the course of several small projects and one large final project, students will learn where, when and how to embed computationally-driven experiences into the built environment. Students will be required to design, render and build experiences and interactions for specific locations and with specific intentions. By the end of the course students should expect to know how to use sensor and API data to manipulate an environment through light, sound and motion output. Previous experience with programming, electronics or fabrication is encouraged, but not required. However, students are expected to learn these skills on their own with minimal in-class instruction.

Fall 2017 instructor: Jake Marsico

Program: Intelligent Environments Physical Computing

Offered by: Architecture

16-457/48-559 Reality Computing II

Launching Spring 2016. Course description coming soon.

Spring 2016 instructor: Pyry Matikainen

Program: Intelligent Environments Media Design Physical Computing

Offered by: Architecture, Robotics Institute

48-528 Responsive Mobile Environments

Embedded, connected and mobile computing combine to create powerful platforms for sensing human behavior and personalizing experiences in situated spaces. Creating intelligent, meaningful, and opportune feedback to provide serendipitous support for the people and activities within these spaces still remains an important problem. Students will seek creative solutions to this challenge in this hands-on introduction to real-time interactive environments. The course will introduce foundational theories, methods and techniques that range across the aesthetic, the human-centered and the technical. Students will apply this knowledge by working in teams to collaborative prototype an responsive environment which adapts in real-time to activities within it. In these teams, students will work across disciplines to integrate technical and aesthetic frameworks for sensing, analysis and feedback of human activity in intelligent and augmented spaces.

Spring 2017 instructor: Daragh Byrne

Program: Intelligent Environments Physical Computing

Offered by: Architecture

16-375/54-375 Robotics for Creative Practice

This project-oriented course brings art and engineering together into making machines which are surprisingly animate. Students will iterate their concepts through several prototypes focused on using embodied behavior as a creative medium for storytelling, performance, and human interaction. This year we will work with human-scale machines constructed using CNC-cut plywood and pneumatic actuation, culminating in a group performance. Students will learn skills for developing and programming performance behaviors, designing expressive kinetic systems, and rapidly prototyping simple robots. Technical topics include systems thinking, dynamic physical and computational behavior, autonomy, and embedded programming. Discussion topics include both contemporary kinetic sculpture and robotics research. Interested students without the specific prerequisites should contact the instructor.

Fall 2016 instructor: Garth Zeglin

Fall 2016 course website: Robotics for Creative Practice

Program: Intelligent Environments Media Design Physical Computing

Offered by: Drama, Robotics Institute

24-672 Special Topics in DIY Design and Fabrication

The traditional principles of mass production are being challenged by concepts of highly customized and personalized goods. A growing number of do-it-yourself (DIY) inventors, designers, makers, and entrepreneurs is accelerating this trend. This class offers students hands-on experiences of DIY product design and fabrication processes. Over the course of a semester, students work individually or in small groups to design a customized and personalized product of their own and build it using various DIY fabrication methods, including 3D laser scanning, 3D printing, laser cutting, vacuum forming, etc. Students develop multiple prototypes throughout the semester, iterating and refining their design.

Fall 2015 instructor: Kenji Shimada

Program: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Media Design Physical Computing

Offered by: College of Engineering

76-285 Team Communication

This mini will introduce you to research and theory on how to create effective teams. In it, you will learn: - leadership strategies for managing projects and getting everyone to contribute to their best capacity - interpersonal skills for negotiating team conflict - communication strategies for working with individuals from very different professional and cultural backgrounds. - techniques for fostering trust and inspiring team innovation and creativity - how to use technology to manage teams that are geographically separated Professor Joanna Wolfe has been studying student and professional technical teams for fifteen years and is the author of multiple books and award-winning articles on team communication. This course will be hands-on with assigned readings and video cases that are discussed in class with plenty of opportunities to role-play different communication strategies and techniques.

Program: Animation & Special Effects Game Design Innovation and Entrepreneurship Intelligent Environments Learning Media Media Design Physical Computing Sound Design

Offered by: English

Archived Courses

60-439 Hybrid Instrument Building

This course introduces students to the theories, practices, aesthetics and communities surrounding the design, building and performance with hybrid interactive instruments.  We espouse an expansive definition of the word instrument that includes "a device for the production of sound/music", as well as "a means whereby something is achieved, performed, or furthered" (from merriam-webster.com.  We study the process of translating gesture into another sensory medium (e.g. sound or light).  Our approach to instrument design will depart from the double meaning embedded in the notion of composing instruments: first, consideration of instrument building as an act of composition; second, instruments that compose of their own right.  While emphasis is placed on musical instruments, course work will also encompass instruments that produce light, image, movement, etc.   This course unfolds in two phases: literature review and individualized projects.  The first half of the course will introduce students to a wide range of existing examples from contemporary music and composition, installation art and human-computer-interaction.  Students will study theoretical and computational frameworks for working with gesture in instrument design.  Topics of interest include: gesture data acquisition, data analysis, and mapping gesture data to hybrid-software-hardware computational systems that generate sound/image/movement.  We will investigate the software and hardware technologies underlying the design and fabrication of hybrid instruments with electronics, sensors, signal processing, digital fabrication.  The second half of the course will allow teams of students to choose an area of specialization, design and fabricate a functioning instrument.  The course culminates in an event where all students demonstrate their final instruments in a performance setting.

Spring 2016 instructor: Ali Momeni

Program: Physical Computing Sound Design

Offered by: Art