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7AAVDH08 Making the Connected World

Module convenor: Professor Graeme Earl

Credits: 20

Teaching pattern: Ten one-hour lectures and ten one-hour seminars, plus online synchronous and/ or asynchronous activities

Module description:

This module will consider the design and growth of objects and spaces which allow us to challenge the barrier between the digital and the physical. From the instantiation of digital objects through 3D printing, to digitally aware and connected artefacts and the projection of the physical into the digital space through virtual environments, the physical body and the digital body have never been so directly connected. The module will examine the digital design processes that lead to increasingly hybrid digital/ physical worlds, example outcomes and their implications. It will also examine maker culture as one particular context for innovation in digital/ physical design.

Draft teaching syllabus

Week 1: Open Source & Making Movements

Week 2: Hacking hardware

Week 3: Sensors, Software and Knitting

Week 4: Internet of Things

Week 5: Interactive objects 1

Week 6: Interactive objects 2

Week 7: Virtual Spaces

Week 8: Digital/ Physical spaces 1: Defining the Space

Week 9: Digital/ Physical spaces 2: Interacting with the Space

Week 10: 3D Scanning and Printing

* Note: This is a sample outline of the teaching schedule.

Module aims

  • To develop skills designing digital/ physical interactions
  • To introduce students to the main technologies for creating digital/ physical interactions
  • To develop critical awareness regarding the use and development of digital/ physical technologies, and their effect on society;

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, the student will be expected to:

  • Have a critical understanding of the history of and theoretical influences underpinning maker culture.
  • Be able to evaluate methodological, human computer interaction design, web design, and related technical approaches to interactive digital/ physical experiences
  • Have a critical awareness of the nature of digital/ physical spaces and objects

Core reading

  • Bahga, A., Madisetti, V.,'Internet of Things: A Hands-On Approach', 2014, VPT.
  • Greenfield, A. 'Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing', 2006, New Riders.
  • Gubbia, J., Buyyab, R., Marusica, S. & Palaniswamia, M., 'Internet of Things (IoT): A vision, architectural elements, and future directions' in 'Future Generation Computer Systems', Volume 29, Issue 7, September 2013, Pages 1645ΓÇô1660. Available at
  • Levy, S., 'Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition', 2010, O'Reilly Media
  • McEwen, A., Cassimally, H., 'Designing the Internet of Things', 2013, John Wiley & Sons.
  • Rowland, C., Goodman, E., Charlier, M., Light, A., Lui, A., 'Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things', 2015, O'Reilly Media.
  • Schreibman, S., Siemens, R. and Unsworth, J (eds), 'A New Companion to Digital Humanities, 2nd Edition', 2016, Wiley-Blackwell


1 x 4000 word critical design report (100%)

The modules run in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand so there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary depending between years.

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