Cybiotic Interaction



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Syllabus - LMC 3710

Fall 2013




Cybiotic Interaction

LMC 3710 Section N1 – Principles of Interaction Design



Special Focus: Physical Computing and the Living World

Instructor – Andrew Quitmeyer

Andrew Quitmeyer

andy@quitmeyer.org

Office: Skiles 326 and desk outside TSRB 318b

Office Hours:

T+TH 1:30-2:30 in Skiles and W 2-4 in TSRB
Class Meets: TR 12:05PM – 1:30PM

Location: Skiles 318

Course Website: http://lmc.gatech.edu/~aquitmeyer3/cybiotic/

[Syllabus Adapted from Paul Clifton’s Summer 2013 Section]


Cybiotic Interaction

LMC 3710 Section N1 – Principles of Interaction Design

Special Focus: Physical Computing and the Living World

Fall 2013

Course Description


The world is a large tangled web of interactions between creatures and their environments. Human interactions comprise a very small portion of these interactions. Due to our own solipsistic nature, however, we tend to ignore large parts of our everyday living world. We will seek to use the new abilities of Digital Media to build connections to other living entities.

This project based course will explore the tools and techniques of interaction design. We will focus on systems with interactive feedback between digital and biological behaviors. These unique, “cybiotic” interfaces provide a rich resource for inspiring novel interfaces that are necessarily robust and situated in their environment.

No previous electronics knowledge is required.

We will cover user-centered and performance-based design techniques, wireframing, performative prototyping, materials crafting, and the Arduino as a prototyping platform. We will create cybiotic interfaces, which couple sensing/input with actions/output between digital and living systems. The creation of these Non-Human biological interfaces exposes us to interaction design which takes place in novel environments, considers atypical sensors, and functions in unusual scales of time and space.

Students will learn the tools and philosophies of interaction design through material critical engagement in developing and critiquing their own prototypes.


Student Responsibilities


  • Openness – Give a solid effort to learning and experiencing new ideas and environments.

  • Clarification – Ask for clarification of any misunderstood words, phrases, or techniques.

  • Question – Challenge any information that is presented to you.

  • Respect – Respect all other students and living creatures involved with the class.

Learning Outcomes


Students will develop the following skills and knowledge by completing this course:

Literature, Media, Communication

  • Read, analyze, and interpret digital and biological media, but also scientific and technical documents.

  • Apply social, political, and philosophical theories to creative and scientific texts.

  • Clearly and effectively communicate design concepts and the decisions that led to them.

Computational Media

  • Understand and apply affordances of computation for creative digital expression.

  • Create digital artifacts aware of context and history.

  • Develop skills for analysis and critique of future digital designs.

  • Work in groups to accomplish a shared goal.

Custom

  • Foster deeper relationships with non-human life.

  • Personally perform the necessary background research about digital and biological behaviors and other related work for crafting one’s design.

  • Prototype, using multiple techniques, design concepts as a mode of communication and evaluation.

Required Texts


All required readings will be freely provided by the instructor. Instead, the students will be responsible for paying for much of their own prototyping materials (See Below).

Required Materials


Due to recent grants, we are able to provide valuable prototyping tools such as soldering stations, but students will still be required to supply their own consumable materials for prototyping. Students should expect to spend around $100-$200 on supplies for their projects.

Required:



  • Dedicated Journal + Indelible Pen [http://amzn.com/B000A7JJF0]

    • Preferably Acid-Free, high-quality paper for sketching and note-taking

  • Prototyping Box / Vivarium (Personally Provided by Instructor)

  • Electronics Breadboard

  • Arduino Uno + USB Cable [https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11575]

  • ATTiny Programmer [https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11460]


Website


Our class has a dedicated website for reference and documentation. You can login here:

http://lmc.gatech.edu/~aquitmeyer3/cybiotic/wp-login.php

username: student

password:


Grading


Each assignment will clearly describe the requirements and the grading factors. Grading factors will correspond to the following set of expectations for each grade level:

  • A –Work goes above and beyond all of the requirements of the assignment and is exceptional in all categories

  • B – Completes all the requirements of the assignment and is very strong in multiple categories

  • C – Completes the minimally passing requirements of the assignment

  • D – Barely passing

  • F – Failure

Assignments and Points


Exercises

Journal


  • Minimum 1 handwritten page.

  • Can include diagrams and drawings

  • 2 times per week.

  • Use supplied research questions as guidelines

Website

  • Over the semester, turn 4 of your journal entries into larger blog posts on the class website

Reflective Exercises

  • Throughout the semester we will assign multi-modal reflective exercises

  • Often we may follow a “critical making” approach, where you reflect through the creation of an artifact

Bio-Performances

  • Go into an environment

  • Find something living

  • Experiment and Play with it

  • Script a Simple set of actions to do with it

  • Enact your script

  • Document Everything

Essay

  • At the end of the semester , craft a formal essay documenting and describing the digital, material, biological, and philosophical factors you considered in your design.

Field Trips

I will try to arrange 5 field trips that take place outside the classroom throughout the semester. You should try to attend as many as possible, though we will understand schedule conflicts means that not everyone will be able to make it to all trips. You will be required to join at least one field trip during the semester, and extra credit can be earned by joining others. A day off regular class has even been built into the schedule to make up for this. We will cover topics such as:



  • Weatherproofing equipment

  • Outdoor Power needs

  • Ecology

  • Ethology

  • Insect Capture

  • Insect Rearing

  • Prototyping

Projects

Lightning Bugs – As an introductory electronics and programming workshop environment, all students will build their own wearable firefly costumes. We will bring these into the field to play a game with each other, and also try to attract real fireflies.

Stupid Pet Trick – Students in groups create a simple project that uses one input and one output in conjunction with a living creature.

Cybiotic Experience – Create a performative work with interacting digital, biotic, (and potentially human) components at a site specific to your choosing. We will present many ideas and other projects for inspiration over the semester.




A1: Journal – 10%

A2: Website – 5%

A3: Reflective Exercises – 10%

A4: Essay – 5%




Field Trips – 5% + (possible extra credit)




P1: Lightning Bugs – 5%

P2: Stupid Pet Tricks

  • P1a: Concept Sketches and Critiques – 2 %

  • P1b: Performance Prototyping – 3 %

  • P1c: Final Protoype and Presentation – 10 %

P3: Cybiotic Experience

  • P2a: Concept Sketches and Critique – 5 %

  • P2b: Low-fi Performance Prototypes and Eval – 5 %

  • P2c: Interim Presentation and Critique – 5 %

  • P2d: Final Object and Presentation – 15 %




Participation – 15%

Attendance


Attendance is mandatory. Fifteen percent of you final grade is determined by class participation, which includes attendance, contribution to class discussions and critiques, and adherence to the cell phone and computer use policy of this class. Attendance and participation in class will help you both learn the material and articulate and refine you own ideas as we proceed through the semester.

You are allowed 2 unexcused absences. Each unexcused absence after your 2nd will result in the deduction of 10 points from your final grade (reducing an entire grade letter). After six unexcused absences, I reserve the right to assign you an ‘F’ in the class. Please inform me as soon as possible, preferably through email, if you plan to be absent for any excusable reason. Be prepared to provide documentation of your absence, and make up for any missed coursework or assignments.


Participation


We will move fast in this class. Participating will demand your full attention.

Computer Usage Policy
Computers should only be used during designated in class work sessions. Laptops may be used for note taking, however web surfing/IM/etc. will result in penalties to your participation grade.

Cell Phone Policy
During class please turn your cell phones off. All the way off. Don’t check them every five minutes to see if you got a new email. Cell phones repeatedly ringing in class will result in penalties to your participation grade.




Drop Day


You can drop the course by August 23rd and not receive a W on your transcript. You can drop the course up to October 11th and receive a W on your transcript.

Disability and Special Needs


Students with disabilities and special needs must register with the ADAPTS. I will make every effort to accommodate any learning needs a student might have, but it is your responsibility to register with ADAPTS and to meet with me in the first 2 weeks of class.

http://www.adapts.gatech.edu/


Honor Code and Plagiarism


Creativity cannot exist without a synthesis of information from many external sources. Particularly as you are learning and programming you will necessarily rely on the work of others. One day, others will rely on the work you perform. To keep the culture

Plagiarizing is defined by Webster’s as “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (another's production) without crediting the source.” If caught plagiarizing, you will be dealt with according to the GT Academic Honor Code.

You are allowed and encouraged to discuss all coursework with other students, as long as you develop and present your own design solutions. You are also allowed and encouraged to ask me questions, although you should try to think about the design problems before asking.

*If you use pre-existing code, you must explicitly acknowledge this in any and all in-class presentations and in your final assignment, and you must provide citation (via comment) in the code. For a thorough discussion of the official policies and procedures regarding plagiarism please view www.honor.gatech.edu.


Debate, Diversity, and Respect


In this class, we will present and discuss a diversity of perspectives. Although you may not always agree with others’ perspectives, you are required to be respectful of others’ values and beliefs. Repeated inappropriate or abusive comments and/or behavior will be cause for disciplinary action. If you feel that your perspectives are being ignored or slighted, or you in anyway feel uncomfortable in the classroom, please contact me immediately.

Course Schedule


What follows is an outline for the course. As the course progresses, we will adjust this outline and corresponding dates. When changes occur, I will inform you and try to keep the schedule as up to date as possible.

Note: Class periods will be designed to incorporate critical reflection and material engagement in parallel. Thus, we will often not have “lab days,” “discussion days” or “lecture days,” but instead I will try to lead sessions of hybrid building and analysis in class. This also means that attendance is still required during “open lab” days, as we will be discussing theory while building.



Week

Date

WD

Topic

HW Due

1

Aug 20

T

Present (P) - Quick Course Introduction: -Interaction, Biological Art, Cybiotics.

Make (M) – Magnetic Ants

Discuss (D)-Journals, Hands-on Demos, Purchases


Bring - something living for show and tell. Interaction brainstorming performances.





Aug 22

TR

Present: What is Interaction Design? Bio-Art?

Intro to Arduino: Electricity, Blink

P1 -Start Fireflies Class Project


-Purchase Journal

-Purchase Arduini

-Install Arduino and Processing


2

Aug 27

T

P1- Finish and Discuss Fireflies-

Present: Performance and Design




Read – Buxton 127-141

Read – Quitmeyer “Inspirations”

Read – Tinbergen

Read – Murray 51-80






Aug 29

TR

Present: Bio-Performances

Tools of Interaction Design: Sketching, Prototyping



Bio-Performance 1 documentation

Team Skills Form

Read – Warfel 1-42



3

Sep 3

T

Intro to Arduino: Analog Sensors, Actors,

P2 - ASSIGNED



Read – Make: Electronics Ch. 1





Sep 5

TR

Prototyping Lab Orientation Session.

Class meets in the Lobby of TSRB.

Bio-Performance 2 documentation

P1a: Concept Sketches



4

Sep 10

T

--Instructor Gone -- UbiComp—

Guest Instructor - Open Lab for P2

Serial Communication



Read – “Talk to me Exhibits”





Sep 12

TR

--Instructor Gone -- UbiComp—

-NO OFFICIAL CLASS- Open Lab for P2

Read – “Animals as Navigators”


5

Sep 17

T

Tools of Interaction Design: Performances, Scenarios, Storyboards, Wireframes (paper prototype)(flow chart), Personas/Users

In class exercise: Digital Abstraction of Animal Behavior



Read – Quitmeyer, “MYT”





Sep 19

TR

Presentation: Tropisms | Urban Agriculture

In class exercise: Nurturing Natural Sensors



Read - Kunetsov

Bio-Performance 3 documentation



6

Sep 24

T

In class exercise: Invert an Animal Behavior







Sep 26

TR

-P2 Final Presentations-

In class exercise: Concept Generation




P2b: Final Presentation

7

Oct 1

T

Tools of Interaction Design: Wireframes, Flowcharts, …

In class exercise: Wireframe a Farming App

P3 - Assigned


Reading TBD




Oct 3

TR

Tangible and Embodied Interaction; Physical Computing

In class exercise: Physical Description of Digital Actions


Read – Iishi and Ulmer: “Tangible Bits”



8

Oct 8

T

Presentation: Soft Circuits

In Class Exercise: Stretch Sensors









Oct 10

TR

-P3a Critiques-

P3a: Concept Sketches, Personas

9

Oct 15

T

---NO CLASS --- FALL BREAK ----







Oct 17

TR

Tools of Interaction Design: User Centered and Participatory Design

In class exercise: User Observations and Interviews



Read – Dourish ch. 4 pp.99-126

10

Oct 22

T

Field Trip: Collecting Creatures

Bio-Performance 4 documentation




Oct 24

TR

Presentation: Computer Vision


Read: TBD

11

Oct 29

T

In class exercise: Student creature swapping

Read: TBD




Oct 31

TR

-P3b Presentations-

P3b: Low fi prototypes and user evaluations

12

Nov 5

T

Special Guest Presentation

Read: TBD




Nov 7

TR

Student Journal Swapping




13

Nov 12

T

Presentation: Digital Naturalism

Open Studio



Read: Charlotte Sleigh, Richard Sennett




Nov 14

TR

-P3c: Critiques-

Open Studio



P3c: Interim Presentation

14

Nov 19

T

Presentation: Digital Naturalism

In class exercise: TBD



Read: TBD




Nov 21

TR

Presentation: Modeling Advanced Digital and Biological Behaviors

In class exercise: design physical simulation



Read: Greg Turk

15

Nov 26

T

Reflective Exercise: Public Sharing Project Documentation – Instructables, Wikipedia

Open Studio









Nov 28

TR

---NO CLASS --- Thanksgiving ----




16

Dec 3

T

-P3 final presentations-

Dead Week



P3: Final Presentation




Dec 5

TR

-P3 final presentations-

Dead Week



P3: Final Presentation

17

Dec 12

TR

ALL PROJECTS AND DOCUMENTATION TURNED IN by 11:59pm

A4: Essay(Due by 5:00pm)




Dec 16




GRADES DUE TO GT








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