School of machines, making & make–believe

Let's Get Physical!

  • / 04 - 29 August 2014

  • / four weeks, full-time

  • / € 1250

How can we create meaningful interactive experiences or tell stories by making things move? This course will focus on physical computing and interactivity, exploring the creative intersection of new technologies, digital fabrication (3D printing, laser-cutting) and how they can work seemlessly together to help you express yourself artistically in both thoughtful and non-sensical ways.

Teachers and students will take a hands-on approach to working with basic electronic components, sensors and motors as well as with Arduino and Raspberry Pi, learning to use these tools to play and to create magical things that move! Robots and wearable technology will also be explored in this course.


No previous experience necessary. You'll learn your way around electronics, 3D printing, and using sensors and motors to make things move. We'll touch on topics such as wearable technology and coding in an atmosphere that caters to those interested in exploring creativity and interactivity in the context of hardware. Fun times!

Throughout the program there'll be interesting exercises, collaboration, and even outside excursions — it will be summertime in Berlin, after all!We’ll also have guest speakers and artist talks alongside base classes and workshops.

The program begins at 10am every morning with an Intro to Core Concepts course which runs a few hours long, followed by a lunch break, individual and/or collaborative work-time and an afternoon lab session. Some days there will be more on the schedule particularly the first two weeks. Four weeks will go by quickly and we want to provide as much content and opportunities for creative hands-on learning as possible!

We'll be doing group check-ins each day so that students can voice where they'd like more help and focus. Fridays will be a bit more experimental with outside activities. We'll provide as many opportunities for engagement as possible, as we believe in learning by doing, hands-on experimentation and having fun!

1st week

The first week is dedicated to getting familiar with tools: basics of electronics, programming microcontrollers, and an introduction to Processing and the Arduino IDE. It’s also the time for everyone to get to know each other and explore ideas and concepts surrounding art, technology, interactivity, and storytelling. We’ll start to examine some questions, such as: what is the purpose of electronics in art? How can interactivity help convey a concept? How can sensors and motors become not only devices, but critical tools in storytelling? Main instructors will be Caitlin Morris, Louisa Heinrich, and Stefania Druga.

2nd & 3rd weeks

The following two weeks are a bit more intensive, building on the previous week’s topics and focusing on getting more hands-on with tools for digital fabrication (3D modeling, 3D printing, etc). You’ll also explore wearables, using sensors to detect the world around you, and start to make things move with motors and other actuators. Expect several engaging workshops from various artists and technologists including So Kanno, Yang02, Becky Stewart and Anaisa Franco. But wait, there's more! The third week will be dedicated to the making of unique and playful robots with the unique and playful duo Kati Hyppä and Niklas Roy!

4th weeks

The final week is dedicated to putting together your new skills and further developing your individual and collaborative projects to be showcased at the final event.


  • Caitlin Morris

    Caitlin Morris is an artist and technologist working with code and built environments, with a focus on sound and perception. Coming from a background in architecture and cognitive psychology, she graduated with her MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons. Caitlin has worked in installation design and development and is currently a researcher in the interactive department at Fabrica. She often teaches workshops on creative coding, digital modeling and fabrication, and physical computing.

  • Louisa Heinrich

    Louisa is passionate about making connections for humans. Her company, Superhuman Limited, works with startups, established businesses and governments to design strategies, products, services and organisational structures that use digital technology to improve individual lives, make a positive contribution to society, and achieve sustainable commercial results. She has held many titles over the past 20 years, including Design Director in the first dotcom boom, Executive for Future Platforms at the BBC, and most recently Head of Strategy for international Service Design agency Fjord. She has led teams worldwide for multi-national businesses, is a thought leader and a recognised speaker on the intersection of people, technology and business.

  • Stefania Druga

    Stefania Druga is founder of Hackidemia and Afrimakers, former Googler and graduate from an international Erasmus Mundus master of Media Engineering for Education (France, Spain, Portugal). In the summer of 2012 was also the Education Teaching Fellow at Singularity University at NASA where she advised and coached 80 students from 36 countries. In the past 3 months she travelled in 8 African countries and trained local teams of makers to design and create hands-on projects that could solve local challenges like access to electricity, clean water, health.

  • So Kanno

    So Kanno is an artist who combines characteristics of several technologies and through his use of electronics and programming aims at creating new ways of expression. He graduated from Design Informatics of Musashino Art University and Institute of Advanced Media Art and Science. He’s received several prizes including New Face Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival (2012). So is currently living in Berlin, where he spends his time between hacking old knitting machines to create fashionable glitch clothing and collaborating with yang02 on their latest mechanical Drawing Bot incarnation.

  • yang02

    yang02 is an artist/designer from Kanagawa, Japan who uses digital media in various forms (installation, hardware, soft wear, internet art, performance, etc.) in an attempt to redefine works he is inspired by, namely, Street art, Graffiti, Public art and typeface design. He is a graduate of Tama Art University in Tokyo, Japan and has won several prizes for his work including New Face Award at the Japan Media Arts Festival (2011). yang02, along with So Kanno, are well-known for their project Senseless Drawing Bot and currently working on their latest mechanical Drawing Bot incarnation and other festival projects.

  • Kati Hyppä

    Kati Hyyppä studied cognitive science and worked several years in the context of digital media and participatory design. She is currently based in Berlin and explores combining traditional crafts with electronics, working also as an interaction designer and illustrator. Kati conducts design and crafts workshops and is inspired by settings where different communities come together to make something unexpected and delightful.

  • Niklas Roy

    Niklas Roy is a self-proclaimed “inventor of useless things”. He uses art in order to explore technology. His researches result in mechanical sculptures, electric machines, interactive performances and electronic devices. 'We make money not art' once described him as one of the most facetious characters of the 'new media art' world. As part of his artistic practice, Roy also conducts workshops at festivals and art schools, often together with his partner Kati Hyyppä.

  • Becky Stewart

    Becky first found her love of electrical engineering through the Arduino. However, working with hardware can get expensive, so instead of getting a real job, she helped start a couple companies that support the habit.

    Becky is a founder of Codasign and Anti-Alias Labs. Codasign is an arts technology education company that teaches adults and kids how to use technology in creative projects. Anti-Alias Labs is where Becky puts her technical expertise into practice. She completed her PhD in acoustics and spatial audio with the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London in 2010 and now combines signal processing with physical computing. She has put GPS into hand-cobbled leather shoes and is currently working on turning the Brooklyn Bridge into a musical instrument.

  • Anaisa Franco

    Anaisa lives and works as a New Media artist. In the last years she has been developing artworks in Medialabs, residencies and commissions throughout the world. She creates interactive art sculptures and Installations that interconnect the physical with the digital, searching for a chemical between materials, using concepts of psychology and dreams she provides behaviors, feelings and imagination for the sculptures.