physical computing for beginners


How can we create meaningful interactive experiences and tell stories through sound, light and movement? What parts of the physical world around us can be turned into an interface through which we can express our creative ideas?

• 1. July - 26. July 2019
• Based at ACUD in Berlin, Germany
• Four weeks, full-time
• Up to 10 participants accepted

Artist / Student (Full Time)*



Physical computing is a subject area that brings  hardware and software together, usually through the application of  microcontrollers, to make interactive things using a combination of  sensors and outputs. The course will focus on physical computing and  interactivity, exploring the creative intersection of emerging  technologies, and how they can work seamlessly together to create unique  prototypes, products and experiences. Complex fields such as  electronics, engineering and computer science will be demystified and  explored as creative tools of endless possibility!

In today’s increasingly digitised world, how is  the physical human experience relevant, meaningful, even political? The  course will cover the entire process of making a physical computing  project from start to finish. This will include exercises for idea  generation, rapid prototyping, basic electronics (including printed  circuit board design), creative mechanics and introductory coding  skills. Students will learn how to build controllers and interfaces that  can connect to and endless range of outputs. What you decide to make is  up to you and your creative expression!

Students will take a hands-on approach to working  with basic electronic components, sensors and motors, using the Arduino  platform as a base to play and to create magical things that bring ideas  to life through interactivity. This course is for people who have  always wanted to delve into the world of physical computing but have  never been sure of where to start. It is a month-long intensive that  will equip you with the technical expertise and confidence to continue  working on your own projects long after the course has ended.

in this course,
you will be
introduced to

  • Tools for generating ideas, developing mechanics, building stories, completing an idea
  • Tools for creating interactive artworks
  • Toolkits and platforms such as Arduino, Processing and Raspberry Pi
  • Electronics and simple circuitry
  • Creative mechanics and basic engineering skills
  • Inputs and outputs: Motors, steppers, servos, sensors, LED strips, etc.
  • Printed circuit board making
  • E-textiles, smart fabrics and wearables
  • Making things wireless with Bluetooth and WiFi
  • Making projects portable with power supplies
  • Introduction to hacking and repurposing older artworks and interfaces
  • Challenges and conversations on play from a variety of perspectives
  • An amazing network and community of like-minded creative beings and potential future collaborators

course outline

Week 1: Introductions, concepts, world-building, narratives, play, and critical discourse, intoduction to electronics, sensors, arduino microcrontrollers.

Week 2: Tools and Techniques for making interactive games, experiences and artifacts with physical computing. Getting to grips with mechanics, including different types of motors and higher-power electronics.

Week 3: Advanced physical computing for creating experimental interactive projects in public spaces. Building our own hardware, including custom circuitry and PCB fabrication.

Week 4: Discussing education and career opportunities in the field of physical computing. Creating collective narrative and interactive experiences which will be open to the public for showcase on the final day of the program.

who is this
program for?

Join the diverse movement of digital artists, creative coders, game-modders, art-games communities, experience designers, immersive theatre writers, personal-games advocates, story-tellers, performance artists, street game enthusiasts, and champions of the playful as we spend a month this summer combining technology, storytelling, and interaction. This course approaches these topics from an introductory level. No prior experience is required.

meet the