Course Project Overview

Presentation Due: Saturday, Dec 15th at 1:30-3:30PM in the HCIL
Instructable Due: Tuesday, Dec 18th at 11:59PM
Worth 24% of your course grade.

The course project is a chance for you (and your partner) to shine (!) by applying the skills you've learned in class to a topic that you're passionate about. You will pitch a set of project ideas to me and your classmates and then we will collectively choose what to work on. The only requirement is that the project fit within the theme of the class (Tangible Interactive Computing) and that it's sufficiently scoped to be about 1.3x to 2x the size of an assignment but not too ambitious (we only have a 16 week semester after all).

Like the assignments, you will work on the course project in teams of two. Unlike the assignments, there are a few different deliverables (see Assignment Deliverables below).

Update: I was asked about team sizes. As usual, I'm flexible. If you want to work alone, go for it but realize that it's difficult to equivalently grade projects of teams of two vs. one.

Project Timeline

In late September or early October (update: October 1st), you will pitch two to three project ideas to the class. I encourage you to create slides for this but it's not a requirement. We can use these pitches to form teams around mutually interested topics.There will be no strict algorithm here; we can work it out together balancing interests with topic potential and team size.

Update: Here is the Google Doc of notes taken during the presentation. Feel free to modify/update.

On Saturday, Dec 15th at 1:30PM, we will all meet in the HCIL and each group will present their project. This will be similar to "assignment presentation" days; however, we have 120 minutes vs 75 minutes. Thus, I would like the presentations to be slightly more formal and prepared. The presentations will be followed by demos.

Tools/Library Usage

As before, you can use whatever developer tools, IDEs, debuggers, libraries, and/or code snippets you find to support turning your ideas into a reality. Of course, you must keep track and cite the use of any code or libraries you use in your project. You must also include citations towards projects that inspired your own. Do not be shy to include as many links as you can that influenced your projects form or function in some way.

Remember to also include citations (with URLs) in your code via comments to all code that you borrowed from or extended from blogs, forums, open source, etc. If I find code that was copied and not appropriately cited, I will consider this a direct violation of the UMD Academic Integrity policy. You will not be penalized for re-using or re-appropriating cool things in this class, you will be penalized for not properly attributing them.

Assignment Deliverables

The project deliverables are due before Dec 15th at 1:30PM. We will follow the assignment deliverable procedure with one exception. Update: the instructable is now due Dec 18th by 11:59PM. I would like each team to create an Instructable for their project (see below).
  • Utilize github to store and post your code. This should be publicly viewable and accessible You are welcome to use any license you like on the code itself (including no license at all--e.g., None). When you use other people's code, you must cite your source--even if it's just a blog post and a small snippet. I believe github provides academic accounts (for additional features, please check the website).
  • Create and share a "step-by-step" Instructable describing your project (see below).
  • Upload a video demoing your project to YouTube. You should include the link to the YouTube video in your Wikipage. Please take the video creation process seriously--video is one of the best forms to portray the interactivity and sheer awesomeness of your inventions. I hope that you create something you would feel proud of to show your friends or family.
  • Presentation/demo. On Dec 15th during our allotted "Final Exam" slot, we'll have a presentation/demo day. We will dedicate the whole 120 minutes to this. I believe we have 7 teams for this; so let's make presentations about 10 minutes long. Again, I would like the presentations to offer more depth than the assignments. Please describe your project's vision, challenges you overcame, and other interesting aspects of your project.
  • Optional: Post a Wiki write-up to your own wiki subpage on this wiki (example).

Creating an Instructable

I've not ever assigned this before in my classes, so this is a bit of an experimentation. Perhaps it will fail. If it does, we can always fall back on creating Wiki pages. We know how to do that. The instructables, though, fit well into the theme of the class, which is in the spirit of the DIY/Maker movement. In addition, it really pushes our work outward beyond ourselves and helps others innovate and create as well. To create an Instructable, you:
  1. Must go here http://www.instructables.com/ and select the "sign up" link. Register for a free account
  2. Once you've registered and logged in, select "Create" and "Step-by-step." This will drop you into a content creation wizard that will help you fill out the Instructable. Here are some quick tips.

Completed Instructables

Update (Dec 20th, 2012): I wanted to list all of the instructables here for easy viewing. We have had an absolutely amazing response so far (e.g., Adil's X-Track has 740 views and 4 favorites, the Gramsky/Preeti instructable has 3,556 views and five favorites, HandSight is around 1,500 views and nine favorites). In addition, three of our instructables have been featured on the front page.


Update (Mar 27th, 2013): As of today, our class instructables have been viewed 51,708 times and marked as favorites 171 times.


Completed Assignments

This page is editable by all members of the class (once you login to wikispaces). If you cannot edit this page, please send me an email or post to Piazza for help. Use the section below to link to your assignment write-ups.

1. HandSight

Darren Smith, Masters student, Department of Computer Science
Lee Stearns, PhD student, Department of Computer Science

HandSight is a prototype glove to aid the blind. It can sense the lightness or darkness of a surface with tactile feedback from a vibration motor for each individual finger. It can also sense distance from physical objects or obstructions and indicate direction and distance with the same vibration feedback. It supports additional modes, and the possibilities are nearly endless. The glove can connect over Bluetooth to switch modes and visualize the sensor readings.

2. Bear With Me

Zahra Ashktorab , Masters student, Human-Computer Interaction
Allan Fong, PhD student, Computer Science

For our final project, we wanted to enhance interpersonal communication with tangible ways of exchanging emotions. We created Bear With Me, a prototype system that allows two users to tangibly send and receive hugs (as well as motion) in near real-time. We used teddy bears as our medium because stuffed animals are often given as a symbol of an emotional or personal connection and we wanted to extend this metaphor in our project.

3. The Ins and Outs of your day


Ever wondered where your day went? Find out more by clinking on the link

Preeti Bhargava, PhD student, Computer Science
Nick Gramsky, PhD student, Computer Science

4. Chem4D

Harish Vaidyanathan, Masters Student, HCI
Cheuk Yiu Ip, Ph.D Student, Computer Science

In this project, we look at new ways to interact between the real and virtual world spaces through commodity hardware. We use Kinect SDK and a custom built Android smartphone app to assemble objects in the virtual space.

5. X-Track

Adil Yalcin, Ph.D. Student, Computer Science

A wireless smart gadget that tracks the music and you at an event.

6. Cycle

Kotaro Hara, Ph.D Student, Computer Science
Cheng Fu, Ph.D Student, Geography

In the project, we build an Android App as a prototype to benefit the bikers to track their own trip and collect data for further data analysis on accessibility for all bikers.

7. The Living Wall

Leyla Norooz, Masters Student, Human-Computer Interaction
Tansy McBurnie, Masters Student, Human-Computer Interaction

Inspired by MIT Media Lab's "Living Wall", we created this interactive wall to imitate a living circuit at the University of Maryland Human-Computer Interaction Lab Hackerspace. Functionalities include lit up grapes, capacitive touch sensors to toggles lights on grapes, homemade butterfly speakers, and removable LED butterflies.