Fall 2020 - IAT 320 D100

Body Interface (3)

Class Number: 7795

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Mon, 4:30–8:20 p.m.

  • 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, and research students be exposed to and utilize core concepts in embodied interaction. Students will expand their technical skills with sensors and Arduino (Adafruit) microprocessors 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 tangible, wearable, and an interactive prototypes -- 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.


  • 3 Skill Building Assignments (Individual) 40%
  • Group Project Concept & Early Prototype (Individual Mark) 20%
  • Final Project (Group) 40%


3 Assignments (Individual) Total 30%
Tangible blog and prototype
Wearable/interactive clothing blog and prototype
Movement computing blog and prototype

Early Group Project Concept & Prototype (Individual Mark) Total 20%        
Concept: Concept, Interaction Model, Sketches 10%      
Technical: Working Prototype 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%


Required - Adafruit Kits. 

Please purchase the following items: 

Please order your own kits in advance (minimum 2 weeks ahead of class start date), to allow sufficient time for it to arrive before the course starts. The kit is needed starting with the first week of classes.



Optional Items to consider:
Soldering Irons
Sewing Machines
Sample Sensors
Power Adapters
Electronic bits and pieces (resistors, LEDs, wires)
Conductive Thread/Material Samples


"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


Kate Hartman, 2014, Make: Wearable Electronics: Design, Prototype, and Wear Your Own Interactive Garments, Maker Media Inc. 

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).