Ubiquitous Computing, required MSc project course in HCI/Interaction Design, Chalmers IT University, 2002 and 2003, 5 credits



The goal of this project course was to explore the area of Ubiquitous Computing and for students to develop and design a physically-situated interface. This was a foundational course supporting individual development of technical skills, knowledge of the domain area, and implementation of design concepts. The 7-week required course (35-45 students in each year) was one of two project courses taught as part of the first-year Interaction Design seminar.

I was involved in two consecutive years of the course –
spring 2002 and winter 2003. Hardware prototyping and software programming skills were the focus of skill-based workshops and tutorials led by Peter Ljungstrand. Resolving these in relation to conceptual development and design qualities were my focus. These issues were developed through lectures, workshops and tutorials focused on experience prototyping and qualities of interaction. Project work was done within groups, in which students were also expected and supported to develop communication and project management skills. Students were required to contextualize their projects in relation to related work in affective computing, reactive environments, augmented reality, wearable computing, tangible media and calm technology. In one of the courses, I led, with Lalya Gaye, a two-day workshop on tangible music interfaces.

Final deliverables included:
– One or more artefacts with implemented behaviors, a functional prototype implementing dynamic (i.e. computer-controlled) properties, and interaction qualities (i.e. expressive and usable qualities)
– A presentation of a scenario situating the artefact in the real world, supported by process materials, such as non-functional mock-ups, video materials, storyboards, in a format suitable for presentation
– A written report (one per project group, summarizing the entire project, approximately 3000 words (following CHI short-paper guidelines)
– A written report (by each individual student) focusing on some aspect of the project or process of particular importance

Image (above)
Opening of an exhibition of student projects from the HCI/Interaction Design program at Universeum, Sweden's National Science Discovery Center

My role
The courses were co-taught by Peter Ljungstrand and myself. Peter Ljungstrand took responsibility for the course struture, administration and technical supervision. We took joint responsibility for the overall content, tutorials and assessment.

Student projects from the UbiComp course taught in spring 2002 were among those selected to be exhibited in an invited exhibition at Sweden's National Science Discovery Center on May 15-22. I was project manager and curator for the exhibition, which included work from all courses within the HCI/Interaction Design program. Several of the student projects were further developed as master's theses. Several student papers were accepted for presentation at the CHI and NordiCHI conferences. One group project 'Spyballs' became 'Spookies' and was developed as a startup company ToyLabs ITR AB (with support from the Interactive Institute studio, of which I was director, and the institute's projects Smart-Its and IT+Textiles).

More about the course
Course webpage, spring 2002
Course webpage, winter 2003


See also

/ Projects / Smart-Its

/ Projects / IT+Textiles