Interactive computing devices are moving onto the human body. This seminar focuses on the emerging class of devices that merge with human skin. This seminar provides an in-depth overview of current research and first commercial applications. It will cover 1) technologies from visual computing and thin-film electronics that allow for augmenting skin with input and output capabilities; 2) principles and interaction techniques for skin-based user interfaces; 3) application areas. The seminar will be based on a mix of readings and a practical project in which students develop and implement a prototypical user interface for interactive skin. 

This seminar is a block course. It will take place during the winter term break, between 6 March and 7 April, 2017. During the first week, each participant will give a scientific presentation about a topic relating to interactive skin, based on several research papers. During the following weeks, students will work in teams and develop a prototypical user interface for interactive skin. The project comprises gathering user requirements, designing the software and hardware interface, and implementing a simple working prototype. During or after the block course, each participant will have to write a term paper that expands on the topics of his/her scientific presentation and also includes lessons learnt from the practical course project. 


  • For M.Sc. students only
  • Good implementation skills
  • Lectures in Human-Computer Interaction (User Interface Design, UbiMedia, Physical Computing) are a plus, but not required

The goal of this course is to acquire basic conceptual and practical skills in developing physical user interfaces for interactive devices and objects. These user interfaces extend interaction beyond a screen and leverage the benefits of physical interaction in the real-world. Examples comprise wearable fitness trackers, interactive furniture, or computer-augmented lego bricks for children. Students will learn about the conceptual basics of physical user interfaces. They will learn how to use microcontrollers, sensors, and actuators to make objects and devices interactive. They will learn what methods and techniques exist for prototyping of physical user interfaces and learn to apply them in the user-centered design process. Furthermore, the class will cover principles, technologies, and interaction techniques of wearable user interfaces, a class of physical user interfaces which is just about to hit the mass market and a very active field of ongoing research and development.

  • Conceptual basics of physical user interfaces: Ubiquitous computing, tangible interaction, embodied interaction
  • Basic Electronics
  • Microcontrollers (Arduino)
  • Sensors (e.g., touch, temperature, light, motion) and actuators (e.g., motors and servos)
  • Prototyping and digital fabrication (3D printing, milling and cutting)
  • Wearable user interfaces and Interactive skin

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