The Seminar provides students with an essential introduction to the world of open-source programming languages and physical computing, in order to create a synchronous and meaningful interaction between the physical and digital realms. After gaining the necessary hardware and software knowledge, students are able to integrate interfaces, visualising methods, data sensing, and actuation, to conduct more advanced research and architectural proposals with embedded technology.


Credits: Thomas Burns


In today’s world, we use countless electronic devices daily. Yet, many of us don’t really understand how they work. Often, these devices are designed more for use than for understanding, leaving us in the dark about their inner workings.
Enter the world of open-source. This approach lets us look under the hood, revealing how tech works and even allowing us to create our own customised technology.

In a digital age where gadgets and gizmos are the norm, understanding their heartbeat often feels like a distant concept. While we’re surrounded by technology, the blueprint of their magic remains veiled.
Welcome to a transformative exploration of the digital universe with The Introduction to Programming and Physical Computing. 

What Awaits You:

  • Dive headfirst into the foundational pillars of programming and the tactile world of physical computing.
  • Familiarise yourself with the versatile Arduino platform, enabling you to bring ideas to life.
  • Step into a hands-on lab experience, where you’ll craft devices that sense and respond to their environment.

By the end of this seminar, not only will you decipher the digital language of everyday devices, but you’ll also be able to dive deeply in this field and embed smart features in your studio projects.


Learning Objectives

At course completion the students will:

  • learn the basic concepts of programming that will allow them to reach more depth in various Physical Computing topics as well as to jump to different programming languages;
  • be able to sense the environment and act back through actuators;
  • to develop smart apparatus that react to external conditions.


Faculty Assitants

Projects from this course


Floral Sensations merges responsive technology and art in an interactive architectural installation. Powered by Arduino, an ultrasonic sensor triggers a DC motor to rotate lasercut flowers; and an LED to fade on or off. The rotation and illumination intensifies as viewers approach, enhancing the immersive experience.

My Lonely Days Are Over

‘My Lonely Days Are Over ‘ is a project aimed to addressing loneliness in an increasingly isolated society, through the creation of a dependable hand that provides physical stimulus i.e. a high-five; usually shared between friends in moments of joy or to express appreciation. Schematic 1x Arduino Uno 1x Bread Board 1x Ultrasonic Sensor: HC-SR04 … Read more


Concept The intention was to design a multi functional rover with obstacle sensing capabilities. The rover can be controlled in two ways, either through voice commands or through Bluetooth remote sensing. Materials Circuit Diagram Some critical considerations: Before uploading the code RX and TX connections must be taken out. After uploading, they must be again … Read more

Desktop FAN-Tasy

“A futuristic, yet, simple approach to cooling down…” Concept While working in the office in the terrible heat of the summer, the air conditioner was rapidly cooling the small room and we had to constantly turn it on and off. For this reason, I bought a desktop fan, but to turn it on, I had … Read more

Adaptive Sun Shade

The proposed project is to have a mechanical responsive canopy that can react to the sun path in each time of the day. As climate conditions such as temperature and sun radiation levels approximate to undesired levels the built in system would trigger the mechanism. The sun shade is controlled by three different servo motors, … Read more

Touch Canvas

Concept Development  Touch canvas is an interactive visual project using Arduino that transforms touch inputs into dynamic visual effects. Users engage with sensors and controls connected to Arduino, triggering real-time changes in immersive visual environment, fostering a unique, hands-on digital experience. Material List Schematic Diagram Arduino Code Prototype Setup Future Step Interactive project, I propose … Read more

The Symphony of Senses: A Multisensory Theatrical Journey

CONCEPT Step into the future of performing arts with a motion and sound responsive centre. This innovative concept transforms live performances into immersive experiences by dynamically responding to movements and sounds. Through cutting-edge technology, the space comes alive with synchronized light displays, elevating the traditional arts experience. Witness a synergy of motion, sound, and light, … Read more


CONCEPT “EuphoriaRAYS” is an innovative project harnessing music-reactive dynamic lighting to elevate spirits after stressful days or frustrating events. Through vibrant, responsive installations in public spaces, it creates immersive environments where individuals can engage with colorful, interactive lights synced to uplifting music. This transformative experience aims to shift moods, infusing joy and positivity by inviting … Read more

Focus Companion

LIFE IS FULL OF DISTRACTIONS. This sometimes hinders one’s ability to have periods of uninterrupted concentration. To combat this, the Focus Companion is a device for enhanced productivity that locks away distractors, such as phones, for a set amount of “focus time” and monitors users’ motion to ensure that they not only stay on their … Read more

Random Decision Making Device

Let’s talk about random decision-making devices, a cool tool with many uses. Ever get stuck deciding? This device helps break that deadlock, offering clarity and moving things along. But it’s not just about making life simpler – it sparks creativity, pushing us beyond the usual options. Think of it like a compass for trying new … Read more

The Future of Sensor

Team member(s): Sebastiyanraj Arockiam MichaelrajModified by Sebastiyanraj Arockiam Michaelraj on December 7, 2023 The system to save a Human life “Welcome to “The Future of Sensor”, a platform dedicated to examining the instrumental role of sensor technology in protecting individuals from self-inflicted harm. In our contemporary, high-speed society, the escalating stress levels, especially among younger demographics, emphasize the critical … Read more

night watering

application of an automatic watering system which only activates under two conditions :  the soil moisture is dry, and the sun has set. this helps to avoid too much water evaporation, but also to avoid over-watering the soil. step 1 / setting up the soil sensor. step 2 / setting up the servo motor. step 3 / setting … Read more

Artificial Sun

“Artificial sun” is a light installation that originated from a dark, cold winter walk in Berlin. Berlin, one of Europe’s liveliest and youngest cities, is renowned for its vibrant parties and general positive atmosphere.However, when winter arrives and the days grow shorter, the city seems to go into hibernation, leaving its streets cold and empty. … Read more

Automatic Irrigator

(Either that or a cool edgy name too.) As for a very simple concept: The idea surged from the need present for some of the people from the neighborhood. Many students struggle with finding good and affordable food at Barcelona – so, naturally, they resort to cooking themselves. Yet. for the last few months, some … Read more

DyeMate ProVision

Dye vending machine working with an ultrasonic drive system. Concept The project involves a container equipped with a keypad, allowing it to provide a specific weight of the material inside based on user input. The primary objective was to aid a friend in her natural dyeing process, eliminating the need for manual weighing of each … Read more


INSPIRATION CONCEPT Aqua REVIVAL, a smart irrigation system which monitors tank levels via water sensors, activates a pump to draw and filter greywater. This sustainable solution minimizes grid water usage, promoting responsible landscaping. The addition of a soil moisture sensor ensures optimal soil hydration for thriving landscapes. PSEUDOCODE This pseudocode activates the DC motor with … Read more


According to The Guardian, “just 5% of Nespresso pods are recycled”. Thus leading to “12,600 tonnesof Nespresso aluminium end up in landfill annually, enough for 60 Sta-tues of Liberty.” NesTrash project aims to solve the problem when it starts, in everibody’s home.A tool that can separate the aluminium from coffee residues, permitting to dispose each … Read more


RESPONSIVE BUILDING SKIN Ecofacade stands out as a revolutionary concept inspired by the intricate art of origami. This Miura fold pattern design is more than just an aesthetic marvel; it’s an intelligent, responsive facade system designed to harmonize with the environment. Ecofacade operates on a simple yet sophisticated principle: adjusting to environmental conditions to maintain … Read more


A System of Sensors to Save Electricity Many hospitals, public offices, warehouses are characterized by the presence of constant electric lighting at any time of the day, includingless-frequented areas and throughout the night.But is this really necessary? Can’t there be a more sustainable and energy saving technology? PowerPreserver_ uses both a LDR photoresistor, apassive component … Read more

AirFlow ClimateMate

Concept AirFlow ClimateMate is a responsive environmental control system, inspired by the principles of Origami and kinetic facades. It utilizes real-time data on air quality and temperature to intelligently regulate the movement of the façade, ensuring optimal indoor conditions. Inspired by the Origami and kinetic facade, this project endeavors to leverage real-time air quality and … Read more

Smart Operable Window

Operable windows have provided ventilation, light control and privacy for many years. And has been one of the Primary architectural components. However it has to operated manually in most Scenario and doesn’t have the smart function. This led to think about the smart operable window concept. Where a operable window, can be made to perform … Read more

Requiem for a Beat

Welcome to a realm where beats synchronize with lights, and the air dances to the rhythm of your celebration! In our innovative Rave House, we’ve engineered an immersive experience that goes beyond mere partying. With air quality sensors triggering a fan dance when things heat up and LEDs pulsating to the heartbeat of the music, … Read more

The Killing Time

A kinetic sculpture, blending art and design. A clock, tired to count the time. The Killing Time is a design object, created through the electronic programming of Arduino and the digital fabrication of laser cutting and 3D printing. It consists of semicircles in colored acrylic that rotate thanks to stepper motors, controlled by a PIR … Read more