New Media Robotics

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 syllabus / schedule / technology / readings / links

Time/Date:        3:55pm to 6:40pm Mondays and Wednesdays

Location:        Hopkins Hall Room 156

New Media Robotics Lab Room 160


Dimensional Imaging Research laboratory

Graduate Teaching Associate: Andrew Frueh


Phone:         614 292-5072 (Art Department - message only; not a great way to get a hold of me)

Office Hours:        Appointment only

Prerequisite:        Super motivation to learn and apply the knowledge you learn in this course to the creation of your research and creative project.

Course description

Approaches to new media; electronic and digital control of objects, projections and sound in interactive installations, performances and exhibitions.

Course objectives

This studio course will cover a range of technologies available to artists such as graphical programming techniques and board-level electronics. This course explores art at the intersection of the software environment Max/MSP/Jitter and the physical world through the MIDITRON as well as analog/digital sensors, sound generation, video, and physical/visual output such as lights and motors.

Hands-on demonstrations, tutorials, lectures, art presentations, discussions of readings and required production of a final project are all part of this course. Significant work outside of class will be necessary to realize your artistic goals. Readings and media reviews will be handed out and will be used to stimulate and contribute to class discussions.

Lectures, video, DVDs, and web sources will augment and frame the technical issues of how to develop and think about interactive art and environments. The focus will be on developing an aesthetic that is appropriate to the use of MAX MSP and interface boards. Students will learn to program their own systems in MAX MSP and Jitter to create interactive events in real time.

Parts suppliers and sources, fundamental mechanics, gearing systems, mechanical transmissions, universal joints, pull string mechanics, cams, electronic prototyping, cyano-acrylate, and balsa wood prototyping, and the necessary tools to do electronic measurements like the multimeter will be covered.

Machines and devices will be dissected to discover their logic and utilize the mechanisms within.

For those familiar with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, there is an option to utilize the Laser Cutter in our Dimensional Imaging Research Lab. Students familiar with 3D modeling can utilize the Shop Bot in the Arts and Design production facility.

Learning outcomes


Interactive Electronics for Artists and Inventors by Ken Rinaldo:

Readings will also available through this website and at times will be handed out in class.

Required materials which must be purchased in the first day of class

  1. Arduino Mega - your microcontroller
  2. USB cable A to B

Order both on the first day of class. Seriously.  First day.

As part of your class fee undergraduates will receive:

Graduate students must purchase their own equipment.  You can order from this wish list to get what undergrads are getting, or use equipment and parts from your own existing stock.

ALL projects will require other specialty parts and materials not listed here, since they are unique to each project’s concept.  Shipping times are always too long, so order these specialty parts immediately once you identify your need for them.

Other advisable/useful equipment: headphones (you supply); soldering iron

Each and every class you should bring ALL materials to class

Your design and parts notebook with all data sheets should also be brought to every class.

Final Project Information

This class includes the requirement to produce a work for the final Art & Technology exhibition. The final project must demonstrate input and programmed output to some device, electronic or mechanical, that unifies the control system, your custom program, and some art object or installation.

You can work alone or in a group of no more than three people. If the project is a group effort the scale of the project must reflect this extra available energy. Final projects will be completed both during class time and after class.

You will begin your final project by making quick rough sketches of the idea and then creating more detailed sketches. Work to smaller, more detailed sketches until the design is complete. I would recommend using Illustrator, Photoshop, or Cinema 4D to model your project and to work out details. Keep a sketchbook of your ideas available for our mutual viewing.

For the final project, decide if you want a temporary or permanent piece, a continuous or intermittent piece, an autonomous or operator activated piece, or an installation. Would you like a gallery to be able to construct the work (plug and play) or will you have to travel to construct the work each time?

The success of your artwork will rest on these factors, so consider:

You will be presenting your idea to the class as an approval brainstorming committee that will make suggestions as to possible problems and solutions and the aesthetic merits of the work.


KISS principle (keep it simple and stupid). Use existing systems, rather than reinventing a mechanism.


An "A" in this course will require that your assignments far exceed the minimum expectations for both quality, and concept delivered in a timely fashion. A deep understanding of the ideas and processes presented and a clear innovative incorporation of the material into your developed aesthetic. Your contribution to class discussions as well as your contribution to class critiques is vital for an A.

Class critiques will occur during the discussion brainstorming of the project and 2 days before the final show are mandatory.

To receive a letter grade of "C" you must complete assignments, maintain regular attendance, participate in class discussions, and in class critiques.You must further show a comprehension of the technical elements of the hardware and software you are studying and demonstrate a minimum of creative exploration to realize your idea and communicate your aesthetic to the class.


Final project, end of quarter exhibition, and class assignments: 40%
Drawings and designs: 20%
Class discussions and critiques: 20%
Attendance: 20%

Grading scale

A 94-100, A 90-9, B+ 88-89, B 83-87, B 83-8, B- 80-82, C+ 78-79, C 73-77, C-71-72, D+69-70, D 64-68, E 0-63


We only have 14 weeks, so it is important that you do not miss any classes. Regular attendance is required. Students are expected to come to class on time, ready to work with all necessary supplies and materials.Three unexcused absences will lower your final grade one full letter grade for each additional day missed. Excused absences are *only* for one of the explicit reasons listed here: family emergencies, established religious holidays, and illnesses with a doctor's note indicating that the student needed to stay home on that particular class day. I call all doctors offices to confirm illness.

Do not ask the instructor if it is alright to miss a class for any other reasons beyond these three. For excused absences, you will be expected to make up class time. If you miss a class for any reason rely on your classmates to fill you in. Missed classes do not excuse you from having your work on the following classes prepared and ready to go.

Additional notes

Each week you should be prepared to discuss in class the assigned readings and projects. You will be keeping and creating both an in class reference notebook of your project design as well as keeping an out of class notebook of your project.

Once we have covered the more basic technical considerations of the hardware and software environment and the electronic interface, you will contract with the professor for a final project in the class.

Design of your project will begin immediately and initial designs and organization will happen from day one with pencil sketches/3D models of your project due this coming tuesday of week 2.

The final project must demonstrate working knowledge of the Max/MSP/Jitter programming environment through an original software application of your design as well as using the MIDITRON. This application must also input some kind of data to manipulate your software in real-time. Your output may be speakers, video, or digitally controlled physical objects such as motors, lights, robotics, sound, video etc.Your final project will also demonstrate your consideration for its presentation in the final show.  Your work must be professionally presented in a way that resonates with the conceptualization of your artwork.

The lab will be open to students in this course after the 2nd week and during TA monitored hours.

End of semester exhibition

Preliminary critiques of your work will happen weekly so be prepared each week. Weekly deliverables will be defined throughout the semester such as 1) sketches, design, demonstrated and working electronic designs, prototypes etc. Preliminary critique in this class is TBA 1. final Critique in this course is TBA. Final show setup is TBA. Opening and performances of work are TBA

You must be present to install your work during the installation and you must maintain and oversee your work during the exhibition. Students will need to bring $4 to class during final weeks of class, to contribute to the refreshment fund for the exhibition. Expect to be appointed to the set up crew, food crew, or breakdown and clean-up crew.

For this final exhibition, your work must be professionally presented, framed, and/or put on a pedestal. No exceptions. You will be responsible for bringing what you will need for the installation of your work, including extension cords, gaffer’s tape, and special hardware. There are some pedestals available, but you should think about this in advance. For any other installation needs, please check with the professor at least two weeks before the exhibition.

All work must be removed by TBA, or it will be discarded. This show is a group effort and your participation affects your final grade. Note: This is a general schedule which, like most schedules, is subject to change.

Student Help Desk

If you have any general or specific questions about the policies of the Dept. of Art, please email and your question will be answered.

Academic Misconduct

It is the responsibility of the Committee on Academic Misconduct to investigate or establish procedures for the investigation of all reported cases of student academic misconduct. The term academic misconduct includes all forms of student academic misconduct wherever committed; illustrated by, but not limited to, cases of plagiarism and dishonest practices in connection with examinations. Instructors shall report all instances of alleged academic misconduct to the committee (Faculty Rule 3335-5-487). For additional information, see the Code of Student Conduct (

Disability policy

Students with disabilities that have been certified by the Office for Disability Services will be appropriately accommodated, and should inform the instructor as soon as possible of their needs. The Office for Disability Services is located in 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Avenue; telephone 292-3307, TDD 292-0901;