Robotic Arts Intro Fall 2019 (IA277.01)

08/30: Speculations --- [Introductions]

Welcome to the class for Robotic Arts Introduction!

This class is an introduction class. If you have never worked with electronics don’t worry, you are in the right place. We will speculate, learn, and experiment with electronics and you will make mistakes. If you have done some electronics, great I want you to get more practice try some things you haven’t tried.

We are going to spend some time diving into the material of electronics. We are going to go as lo-tech as possible to think about electronics inside out. It might feel a little slow or backwards but with a patience, I believe that you will gain some understanding of this medium inside of black box.

Here are some rules

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! The sole purpose of this class is experimentation. Experimentation is risky, but there is no innovation without experimentations.

  2. Take a risk! Try something you are not sure would work. You might discover something you weren’t looking for

  3. Don’t worry about making a masterpiece. Again, this is an intro class which surveys various ways of working.

  4. Work economically! Start small and build it up

  5. Make notes and sketches. Get in a habit of documenting your process before you forget about them. You will thank yourself.

  6. Pay attention! Often when you are working with electronics, small changes make big differences

  7. Take breaks. when you stare at your project too close and too long, you can't see anything any more. Go look at the sky

  8. Avoid hooking battery in backwards

  9. Don’t take anything apart that plugs directly into the wall (yet)

Syllabus and Schedule

Materials and Tools for this class

here are list of materials you will need to get for the first half of the semester. Second half of the semester there will be minimal required purchases.


Electronic kit might save you money

There are many clones of Arduino and they might be a little cheaper, but they might give you a trouble along the way, or maybe they wont! If you are begginer to Arduino, get the Arduino brand ones to be safe. If you already own Arduino Uno, you don't have to buy Leonardo but please let me know.

Here are some places to buy Arduino:

optional but very usuful

Some inspirations and focus

Here are some things to get thinking about robots and electronics around us...

etymology of robot


Zaven Paré
Interactive experiment with robot (Geminoid - Robotic clone of human) A robot trying to act normal by perceiving human who is reacting to the robot trying to act “normal”
Hroshi Ishigro Laboratories

Tweenbots by Kacie Kinzer



Sara Dittrich - Cadence

So Kanno

Oscar Lhermitte Seeing in circles



Le Pang

Live electronic soldering performance by The Loud Objects

Submarine Cable map

trans-Pacific Cable Landing station

Science Fiction

Floppy Legs Portable Hard Drive from The Artificial Defence Mechanism project by James Chambers


littleBits is a modular and physical programing platform that affords quick electronic experimentation

github repository for little bits schimatics and documentation

Circuit Sniffing / Electrical Walks

We are going to spend some time experiencing magnetic field activity around us. We can explore them with a small amplifier and a telephone pickup.

Christina Kubisch - Electrical Walks


Order your materials!

  1. Please order Arduino UNO, USB cable, Breadboard, jumper wire kit ASAP. We will be using these right away.
  2. Complete introductory survey that is shared with you on Google Drive
  3. With your partner, explore electronics around you with a telephone pick up and an amplifier.


  • Medium from Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand by Malcolm McCullough