In this course (German title: »Interface Design ohne Barrieren mit Arduino«), we explored the basic capabilities of the Arduino microcontroller board with the final objective of being able to use it for creating customized computer interfaces that can help overcame barriers.

 

Thus - in a nutshell - our educational goals for this course were to a) learn basic electronics and computing principles as well as to b) come up with ideas for ‘animating’ our analogous world to address certain obstacles.

 

More information (in German) can be found at https://diginaut.at/blog/interface-design-ohne-barrieren-mit-arduino

There is an undeniable link between technology and creativity. This comes with no surprise as technology is actually being invented or innovated in order to overcome specific problems and to meet people’s needs. Those needs need not always to be of a purely functional kind (e.g., ‘how can we built a stronger bridge?’ or ‘a more reliable computing network?’), they might as well arise from aesthetical or pleasurable reasons.

 

In the summer of 2020, I participated in ‘KinderuniKunst’ to provide schoolchildren aged 12-14 years with a basic idea of the creative potentials that reside within technology, specifically within computing and coding.

 

For more information, please visit https://diginaut.at/blog/kinderunikunst-2020 (German version only)

The workshop »Design und Informatik begreifen« (»Grasping Design and Computer Science«) aims to train the digital competencies of schoolchildren in a playful way. We want to show how our world is increasingly merging with a digital world. The workshop is explicitly aimed at schoolchildren with no special technical training and prior knowledge.

 

In more detail, we investigate the technologies that drive digital products, which are increasingly dominating people's everyday lives. To do this, we take a look at topics of design, IT and electronics. These disciplines are largely responsible for the design of Internet applications and smart, sensor-based, networked products, and so on.

 

More information (in German): https://diginaut.at/blog/design-und-informatik-begreifen

‘Design Digitaler Systeme – IoT’ is a new Bachelor’s program at the New Design University in St. Pölten. It combines the disciplines design, computer sciences and electronical engineering to educate specialists in shaping applications that involve both information technology and physical artifacts. I was responsible for shaping the teaching methodology / didactics of the study program.

 

In this German article, I describe the underlying teaching philosophy for educating upcoming digital designers and computer specialists in the light of the digitial transformation:

Hurray! I have finally completed www.diginaut.at – the webpage for the new Bachelor’s program »Design Digitaler Systeme – IoT« at the new Design University in St. Pölten (Austria).

 

Visit www.diginaut.at to find current information about the program. For example, articles about teaching methods, educational information, and recent research activities. You can also learn what we actually mean by »diginaut« (see figure left) and how we train them.

 

 

 

LightSight is a new interactive toy for children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI) that we built during the Schaukasten project. To be precise, the device was created by the three students Hana, Konstantin, and Niloufar during a comprehensive Master-Level course named 'Building Interaction Interfaces' (for Media Informatics). The development of LightSight is a good example for a project-based teaching process, where students independently conduct research to solve a probleme and hence discover or construct new knowledge. In the case of LightSight, the problem space was defined by the needs of children with CVI.

Children affected by CVI face different challenges in their perception and processing of information, and it is important to provide them with appropriate tools to train their vision skills and related competencies. To address this need, a tangible and illuminated dice was designed by Hana, Konstantin, and Niloufar. The dice wirelessly communicates with a game running on a tablet (dice and game together form LightSight). This concept should provide a playful way for the children to train their vision and a range of related motor and cognitive skills (e.g. manipulating the device with their hands, learning shapes etc.).

Read More: LightSight (2018)

I created the UbiKit for my teaching. Its main components are a screen in a wooden casing named the UbisScreen and the UbiUbi, which can be connected to the screen via USB. UbiScreen and UbiUbi together form the UbiKit (UbiScreen + UbiUbi = UbiKit).

The UbiUbi is an enhanced clone of the MakeyMakey, i.e., it is a keyboard and mouse emulator that can turn conductive materials into human input devices. To this end, various connector-ports on the UbiUbi allow connecting switches and keys by using alligator clips. For instance, a button made of Play-Doh could be connected to the ‘left-click’ port and a banana could be connected to the letter ‘a’ port (and so on). Touching the Play-Doh button would then result in a ‘mouse-clicked’ event and biting into the banana would type the letter ‘a’. This again, could trigger the display of different screen mock-ups on the wooden box. In summary, the UbiKit depicts a set of devices and tools to be taken home by the students and to be transformed into a rapidly developed tangible prototype. Here, The main focus is on screen-based interactions and on prototyping innovative and often playful interfaces for user input. UbiKit was made for early design explorations and removes heavy engineering or coding from the process.

Read More: UbiKit including UbiUbi (2016)