Course Description

History 9832B is a studio course on interactive exhibit design, intended primarily for public historians and digital humanists. Preference will be given to Public History students or graduate students in the digital humanities, but the course is open to other graduate students with the instructor’s permission.

Course Syllabus

Students will learn how to create interactive exhibits through a series of hands-on projects that teach the basics of interaction design, physical computing, and desktop fabrication. No prior experience is necessary. Attendance and participation at all class sessions is expected.

Course Materials

You should bring a laptop (Mac, PC or Linux). All other tools, equipment, materials and software will be supplied. For some of our activities we will be using the Arduino Projects Book (freely available online and paper copies available in the lab).

Methods of Evaluation

In this course you will be graded on your documentation of the design process (25%), the project(s) that you develop (50%), and your presentations in multiple media (25%). Your final grade will reflect how much you’ve learned or accomplished in this course, rather than any overall level of technical attainment.

Course Schedule and Readings

  • Jan 08 – Kits for cultural history; Brainstorming; install Arduino software and do kit inventories
    Background reading:

  • Jan 15 – Storyboards; Makedo; simple interactive circuits with Arduino

    • Arduino Projects Book, Chapter 01: Get to Know Your Tools
  • Jan 22 – Design thinking, affordances and ambiguity; interfaces; seamless and seamful design; MaKey MaKey vs Arduino
  • Jan 29 – Minimal computing and microcontroller platforms; Arduino analog input and output and serial monitoring
    Resources (skim these to get a sense of serial communications):

  • Feb 05 – Sensing with Phidgets in Processing

    • Install Processing language (downloads)
    • Sample Processing program: Java Examples -> Topics/Motion/Linear
    • Install Phidgets drivers for OS (Mac OS X, Windows)
    • Set up and test Phidgets with analog input (rotation sensor) using OS
    • Phidgets 1011 User Guide
    • Install PhidgetsForProcessing library: Open the Processing editor, choose Sketch -> Import Library -> Add Library, type “phidgets” in the search bar, choose PhidgetsForProcessing and press “Install” below. After install is finished, exit the editor and restart it
    • Test Phidgets in Processing with InterfaceKit_Example sketch
    • Experiment with other analog input sensors, e.g., linear slider, infrared distance, magnetic field, light, temperature, vibration, force, etc.
  • Feb 12 – Intro electronics; littleBits
  • Feb 26 – Designing in 3D; 3D printing demo; packaging and popup books
  • Mar 04 – Mechanical design; VEX and MicroRax; hi-low technology
  • Mar 11 – Work on projects
  • Mar 18 – Work on projects
  • Mar 25 – Work on projects
  • Apr 01 – Project demonstrations