Workshop 9: Electroincs 3/ Systems and Networks

After we have got our hands dirty with electronics, it’s time to think hard about the major projects and step towards creating a prototype. As with most things in creative practice, it is important to feel and play with the materials we will be working with and allow what we have learnt to inform us. Week 9’s workshop will be devoted to this.

Past Student works

Below is a selection of student works from MEDA202 in the last few years. While the brief has varied over the years, the aim of the major project has always been to create a physical object-based piece that invites audience participation in some way.

Project outlines are here and here.

Central to the exploration of ‘systems, play and interaction’ is audience experience.Throughout the lecture, we suggest a number of factors that may agender wonder on the part of viewers: objects in juxtaposition, objects in collection, scales (miniature or larger than life), kinetics and movement, automation, and mediation.

Investigating physical objects (and their mechanics), electronics, and digital programming provide means to enable different experiences for the audience, so what kind of experience do you want to produce?

Remember that the aim is to produce meaningful experience and this can be enabled by different technologies. The objective is not to showcase the technology itself.

Artwork Analysis

Let’s have a look at other examples, in each of the following works:

  • Describe the mechanisms of the work.
  • What are the inputs of the system?
  • What outputs are there? What forms do they take?
  • How are the inputs controlled or translated into outputs?
  • Describe the audience’s experience. What emotions, affect and thoughts may the work induce in the audience?
  • What are the main concepts of the work?

Research if necessary.

Demo/ exercise

  1. Build an Arduino Circuit to control a Servo Motor. Follow this tutorial: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Knob
  2. Replace the knob with one sensor. You might choose:
    1. a light sensor
    2. an optic distance sensor
    3. a piezo sensor (sound sensor)
  3. Draw a schematic of an interactive work that might make use of the circuit you have developed today.

MakeyMakey demonstration (by Glenn)


Using key strokes to control a raft of possibilities.

Project Work

Work on your Prototype

  1. Go over Assessment 2 requirements
  2. Create an Idea map: a map of ideas you are exploring, how do existing works inform your project?
  3. Create a concept map: a system map of how ideas, materials, processes are connected to each other. (things you will need, steps you will take)
  4. Play with the materials
  5. Make notes of the resources, space, and equipment you will require for the prototype presentation.
  6. Put all this into a post onto your blog.

Discuss your project with class/ consult with tutor

You can go back to week 8’s workshop notes and continue going through the Arduino exercises.

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