Fall 2019 - IAT 320 D100

Body Interface (3)

Class Number: 6250

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    SUR 5100, Surrey

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 48 units, including IAT 267 and 222.



Explores ideas of embodiment, knowledge, and space within the human relationship to technology. Throughout this course, students will construct and analyze contemporary and historical models of bodily interaction with machines, understand physical practices of embodiment, and apply these concepts to representation, design, and the production of artistic interfaces.


This course focuses on body-based interfaces and embodied interaction. These may include sensor-based wearables and tangible computing in the context of social, expressive, aesthetic, and personal embodied computing. Students will acquire conceptual and historical knowledge about current ways in which artists and designers understand embodied interaction through domains including: art, design, fashion, health, architecture and games. Through readings, discussions, presentations and research students be exposed to and utilize core concepts in embodied interaction. Students will expand their technical skills with sensors, Arduino microprocessors and Processing through individual exercises. In small groups, students will design and implement a prototype for an artistic project in a body interface domain.  

The focus of the course will be on understanding, analyzing and applying conceptual knowledge about embodied meaning making (i.e. thinking/understanding/experiencing) and embodied interaction (i.e. activity/movement) to explore the design, implementation and critical assessment of wearable and tangible interactive prototypes. We will approach these aims from both art and design perspectives.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
- Evaluate various systems of embodied interaction, mapping the body to interface design and analyze experiential and analytic systems of embodied mapping.  
- Evaluate the concept of body interface and apply this knowledge, critically, to conceive the design of a body interface project.
- Understand the role of the physical senses in a range of multi-modal interface systems.  
- Construct an interactive system in order to explore how embodied concepts can be applied throughout an iterative artistic/design process.  

In other words … 1. Learn Concepts: Evaluate other people’s embodied systems through the lens of body-mind 2. Try Prototyping: Design and implement a i. tangible, ii. wearable, and iii. advanced tangible prototype -- using embodied concepts to inform or inspire 3. Think about User Experience: Discuss and consider users’ experience via their body with your prototypes 4. Research Project: Conceptualize, design and build a high quality interactive prototype that enables you to explore an embodied experience for users.


  • Participation (Individual) 10%
  • 3 Assignments (Individual) 30%
  • Group Sketch & Early Prototype (Individual Mark) 20%
  • Final Project (Group) 40%


Participation (Individual) Total 10%
In-class "pop" exercises & discussions 10%    

3 Assignments (Individual) Total 30%
3 x Conceptual (blog + sketches) 15%
3 x Technical (prototypes + sketches) 15%

Group Sketch & Early Prototype (Individual Mark) Total 20%        
Sketch:  Concept/UX + Timeline 10%      
Prototype:  UX/Technical 10%  

Final Project (Group) Total 40%       
Presentation of final prototype 20%     
Documentation:  ACM style paper 20%  

Total Grade 100%

Grading Scale
For course assessment, I will use the following grading scale provided by the SIAT department:
95% ≤ A+
90% ≤ A < 95%
85% ≤ A- < 90%
80% ≤ B+ < 85%
75% ≤ B < 80%
70% ≤ B- < 75%
65% ≤ C+ < 70%
60% ≤ C < 65%
55% ≤ C- < 60%
50% ≤ D < 55%
F < 50%



Your Materials (Studio):
The electronic prototyping kit is optional: a $100CAD cash fee is required to pick up this kit from the SIAT office; please see Lisa DaSilva in Room 2756. The kit includes: Conductive Threads, Arduino/Arduino Lilypad Kits, Fabrics, etc.

Also Available
Soldering Irons
Sewing Machines
Sample Sensors
Xbee System
Power Adapters
Electronic bits and pieces (resistors, LEDs, wires)
Conductive Thread/Material Samples
USB Cables


"Tangible User Interfaces:  Past, Present & Future Directions" (2010) by Orit Shaer, Eva Hornecker; World Scientific Publishing; needs to be downloaded as a PDF from:  http://nowpublishers.com/article/Download/HCI-026; the full details are at:  http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/1100000026
ISBN: 9781601983282

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html