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

Innovate to Elevate

Interactive Facade System Introduction Murr Tower, is a prominent abandoned skyscraper located in the city of Beirut, Lebanon. The tower was initially intended to be a luxurious residential and commercial complex. Construction began in the 1970s but was halted during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990). The tower remained incomplete and abandoned for years, serving as … Read more

Flood Control

Using  two primary sensors and  actuators, a flood control system could be composed. The  project’s intentions is to use water levels rising towards an ultrasonic sensor in order to initiate a servo motor that would essentially redirect water towards the soil moisture sensor thus activate a visual output ( a warning per se) through an … Read more


The increasing concern over indoor air quality has prompted the development of innovative solutions to create healthier living environments. In response to this, my Arduino project introduces a Smart Exhaust System designed to monitor and improve air quality. Utilizing the MQ 135 air quality sensor. CONCEPT The concept behind my Arduino-based Smart Exhaust System revolves … Read more


Concept Automatic feeder for stray cats In today’s world, homeless animals are often invisible in everyday life and often suffer from the harsh conditions of urban life. Such homeless animals in many cities are cats, which have always played an important role in people’s lives, having a positive impact on our health and emotional state.  … Read more


Harmonizing water treatment and thermal comfort to everyday living This project aligns with Design Studio G1, focusing on Metabolic smart prefabrication. The design concept challenges the incorporation of water treatment as a fundamental aspect of architecture and everyday living. The objective is to harmonize and repurpose water treatment into a thermal comfort system, integrating interactive … Read more

PupPlay Breeze

Using Ultrasonic Sensor and Water Level Detection Sensor to detect the various states of a dog at home, these are employed to control the operation of DC motor and Servo Motor concept All dogs around the world exhibit a dual nature; they’re incredibly joyful while playing outdoors with their owners but can feel immensely lonely … Read more

Rhythmic Walls

Rhytmic Walls

Concept Inspired by the artistic vision of Refik Anadol, the project seeks to reimagine the interaction between nature and humans through a digital lens. Utilizing motion and sound detection technologies, this interactive wall transforms human interactions with their environment into a visual and dynamic experience. It visualizes how nature and humans respond to each other, offering viewers an opportunity to forge … Read more


Exploring Dynamic Privacy in Public Spaces through Distance Sensors and Servo Motors This project represents a captivating exploration at the crossroads of programming, physical computing, and spatial design. The central focus revolves around the utilization of cutting-edge technologies, namely distance sensors and servo motors, to craft an interactive partition module. The primary objective is to … Read more


CONCEPT I hate sweaty armpits. I hate having them, and I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy. Although sweat is a normal bodily function, it might be an insecurity for some.However, this worthless device will not come close to addressing the problem. But it might shame you into taking the proper actions. Introducing: PitPatrol™, … Read more

SnoreGuard: Better Sleep, Better Life

“Embrace a new era of restful nights, waking up refreshed and ready to conquer each day. SnoreGuard: Better sleep, Better Life.” The Snore Guard Wake-Up Assistant is an innovative device designed to automatically wake up a person who is snoring excessively during sleep. This device utilizes advanced sound detection technology to monitor the ambient noise … Read more


CONCEPT TrashTrek is a technologically advanced dustbin, that offers a seamless hands-free waste disposal experience. The bin opens upon detecting someone in proximity, enabling users to effortlessly discard their trash without physical contact. It closes after a predetermined duration, reducing the necessity for manual interaction. Components Assembly Code PROTOTYPE Future steps Sorting System: Implementing a … Read more


In the serene realm of miniature landscapes, where the art of Bonsai whispers tales of timeless beauty, a silent predicament often unfolds… As intrepid explorers set forth on adventures, their cherished Bonsai companions are left to weather the solitude, yearning for the tender care they deserve. These arborous masterpieces, carefully sculpted over years, find themselves … Read more


HARMONIC HARMONY – IR REMOTE MUSIC SYNTHESISER INTRODUCTION : In a symphony of technology, my Arduino project, “Harmonic Harmony” seamlessly combines the realms of sound and light through the enchanting collaboration of a passive buzzer, LEDs and the magic of infrared signals. This innovative creation transforms signals from an IR remote into a melodic masterpiece, … Read more


The system is designed to facilitate regular bird-watching opportunities through the observation deck. Distinguishing between average bird flights in the troposphere and migratory bird flocks in the stratosphere from the other layers of atmosphere, it focuses on capturing stratospheric and Tropospheric activity. LEDs on the observation deck signify flock distance, alerting bird watchers to arrivals … Read more


Inspired by my personal experience, as a student in IAAC, there have been many times that I was carrying heavy materials and I was struggling  to open the main door. Therefore, using the arduino program I wanted to make an automatic revolving door. When the Ultrasonic Distance Sensor detects an object from a specific distance, … Read more

Responsive Rainwater Catchment System

Reference: ThinkPhi

The Responsive Rainwater Catchment System (RRCS) is a proposed system to collect rainwater, reacting to environmental factors through sensors and actuators. The system is imagined as an inverted “umbrella” that is usually closed, and upon sensing rain opens and begins collecting rainwater. Reference: ThinkPhi It has as a priority to collect rainwater without blocking sunlight … Read more


This project is based on my personal impression when I was a teenager in 2013. A Russian startup called “Playtronica” appeared suddenly in every public space in Moscow. The concept was that you can connect basically anything to the main board and, by manipulating the special program, your touch would create certain sounds. These “handmade” … Read more

“Cool As a Cucumber”

It’s easy to overheat. Whether you’re exercising, spending time outdoors, or even sitting in a poorly ventilated room, one can find their body temperatures rising to uncomfortably high levels. You might even experience heat stroke, dehydration, and other dangerous side effects from significant exposure to the heat. The concept of this device is simple – … Read more

Urban Pollution Mapper

CONCEPT The project was designed to be an urban furniture that maps the city’s pollutions: air pollution and sound pollution. It is a design installation that aims social awareness regarding the environment people are exposed to in big and busy city centers. The benches’ side lights, triggered by the air quality sensor, are always on, … Read more

SMART Sunlight Tracking Plant Pot

BRIEF The idea of the assignment is to use 2 sensors and 1 actuator in Arduino to create a working system. CONCEPT The project aims to create an intelligent plant pot system that employs sensors to gather environmental data, an Arduino to process and analyze this data, and a motor to physically adjust the plant … Read more

Pro-critter ventilation access system

Concept Ventilation systems are designed to move air, and they typically have filters to prevent large objects from entering. However, small animals can sometimes find their way into ventilation systems through openings or ducts. Apart from these closed ventilation systems there are also cases such as as industrial exhaust fans which are placed typically high … Read more