Blog - Sketching with Hardware

Practical Course on Physical Computing

Day 3 – Brainstorming Day

Published on: September 29, 2015 | Author: Bernhard Slawik | Categories: 2015b, Daily Logs

After we we’re given this semester’s topic on Tuesday, Wednesday was all about defining our concepts in more detail. So we started with a meeting in which each team presented their idea(s) which were then discussed. Whereas some groups already had a very clear idea of what they were going to build, others we’re still considering multiple ideas. But through some feedback from the tutors and peers each team had a good idea of what they would do in the following days after the discussion.

After that, some teams tried to further specify their concepts whereas others directly started to try out sensors and actuators they wanted to use in their projects. Also, almost all teams went out to do shopping in DIY markets, antiques shops, or toy shops to find equipment for their prototypes. In the afternoon, all teams finally had a good idea of what they were to build over the next days and started to figure out how to use the technology in detail.




(by Bernhard Vogler)

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Team 3 – The iHooks

Published on: August 19, 2015 | Author: Patrick Mörwald | Categories: 2015b, Best Projects, Projects

Watch the project video:

The dog days of summer – usually you should definitely be relaxing during those high summer weeks, especially in a scorching hot year like this. But on the other hand, we where stoked to get into the Sketching with Hardware course at the Faculty of Media Informatics.

Let me tell you why: First, i prefer binging through some days and nights of Arduino tinkering, wood-crafting, hot solder action and low-level coding, instead of learning a fixed quota for a test every week during a whole semester. Second, the atmosphere in the course made us feel like hanging out with some good friends and creating something unique. I mean, this course will leave an impression and gave us some good problem solving excercise as well as an improvement to our team working skills.


Day 4 – The projects are evolving quickly now!

Published on: August 19, 2015 | Author: Patrick Mörwald | Categories: 2015b, Daily Logs

The eight Teams are two days into the development process for their projects. They know now how to apply their individual skills and coordinate their tasks effectively. A day full of motivation and excellent team work. Come with me and take a look, there is a lot to see already!

TEAM 1 – Solar Lamp System

Team 1 - Masters of the universe!

Team 1 – Masters of the universe!

Look how unique those crocheted planets are. Team 1 even thought of the Saturn rings.

Look how unique those crocheted planets are. Team 1 even thought of the Saturn rings.


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Day 6 – The second last day

Published on: August 18, 2015 | Author: Florian Lochner | Categories: 2015b, Daily Logs

After the weekend, which was for some teams stressless while others were busy as a bee, it was time for the second last day of sketching with hardware. On the following image you will find a diagram which shows the stress level of every team. As you can see some of teams run into problems, while others managed it to go according to their plan.



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Team 2 – The Magic Suitcase

Published on: August 18, 2015 | Author: Florian Lochner | Categories: 2015b, Projects

The Magic Suitcase

Our concept, The Magic Suitcase, was inspired by early 20th century funfair attractions, where magic machines and installations we’re fascinating visitors. We took this concept, but created something that does the magic by using the internet. The Magic Suitcase gives no clue about what it contains or what it does – the only way to find out is to go to a website and press a button on this website. The Magic Suitcase then either opens to fire some water, throws candy, or plays a music box.

Concept Work

One of our original ideas was to create a party game­—however for that we wouldn’t have needed an internet connection. Thanks to some inspiring feedback from our tutors and peers we decided it could also be fun to have some magic box that doesn’t follow the conventions of good interaction design but uses an internet layer to link the user’s interaction with the system (on the web interface) with a physical reaction. By de-coupling the interface and the reaction of the system both physically and through a delay, people should not be able to easily create a mental model of it and hence be confused. (That is basically the opposite of what you try to achieve when creating useful and usable artifacts.)

Once our idea was clear, we searched on ebay Small Ads for some old box and ended up with a nice old suitcase that is a perfect encasing. We then went to some toy shops and found some inspiration by water pistols and other toys that fire other things as well as music boxes.



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Team 7 – Karl the Typewriter

Published on: August 18, 2015 | Author: Philipp Kramer | Categories: 2015b, Projects

Team 7

Hello! We’re Simone and Philipp, Team 7 of “Sketching with Hardware 2015b”.
We present our project Karl the Typewriter, an old typewriter that’s not only a medium of communication but also an intelligent communicator.


One of the first ideas that stuck, was to use some sort of
bot or artificial intelligence as the Internet-part of the project.
This means the user will be communicating through whatever device
we will be modifying.

Some “old things” that came to mind included a crystal sphere,
an old radio and a telephone.

But since all of these options raised further questions on how to capture
user input, we decided to use a typewriter for the following reasons:

  • The user can just type what he wants to input
  • The user is given immediate analog feedback wich maintains the typewriters original function and makes the usage of Karl very intuitive
  • output can be done via text to speech audio, or a display.


first sketch:



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Team 5 – Optogram

Published on: August 18, 2015 | Author: Ronja Brettschneider | Categories: 2015b, Projects

The Optogram – see more. A new way of displaying images.

The Concept:

       The Concept started out with the idea of display images in a private setting. Since people can always look at your phones screen while your scaling over your “personal” news feed, we wanted to develop a program and hardware that would enable the user to view images in a private setting, no matter where they are.

The idea was inspired by an old school View-Master. Since we really wanted to focus on displaying images, we quickly decided to use once personal Instagram feed.


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Team 8 – RunSoMeter

Published on: August 18, 2015 | Author: Markus Friesenegger | Categories: 2015b, Projects

The theme of the internship of “Sketching With Hardware 2015b” was “Internet of old things”. Eight teams with two persons each had five days to choose, to think, to design, to develop and at least to bugfix their ideas concerning old things interacting with the internet over WiFi. It all began on a sunny Monday morning, when our two supervisors Bernhard and Patrick introduced all participants to the theme and the idea behind “Sketching With Hardware”.

First steps in new territory:

It all started with basic theory about electrical engineering and the combination with hard- and software (especially with the Arduino Board). For this week, we got the bigger version namely the “Arduino Mega”.
The first two days offered plenty of time to get in first touch with the topic: Connecting the first few wires by brazing and soldering, lighten up LEDs, turning on little servos and even completing a little keyboard-hacking challenge, where we had to design a controller out of “garbage” to play a simple self chosen online game.
We decided to play the famous “Beer Game”, where we had to map the up- and down keys as well as the spacebar into our “device”. Our first approach seemed to be promising and we were hungry for more!

Foto 03.08.15 15 33 33

Our simple Beer Game controller


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Team 1 – Solar Lamp System

Published on: August 18, 2015 | Author: Philip Hanke | Categories: 2015b, Best Projects, Projects

solar lamp system_logo

Finding a suitable “old thing” to work on:

To find an interisting “old thing” to work with we chose an object-centered approach and started to think about antique objects that changed over the years but are still irreplaceable in today’s modern and connected life.

One of the first objects that came into our minds as we heard the topic “Internet of old things” was a lamp which your grandma could have owned back in the days – something like the lamp we drew into our sketchbook:



Team 4 – GlowBus

Published on: August 17, 2015 | Author: Annika Busch | Categories: 2015b, Best Projects, Projects

The Idea: 

The GlowBus is a globe that displays meteorologic information through coloured light. This light is given by RGB-LEDs placed at strategic locations near 34 big or well-known cities. There are three settings to choose from: temperature, weather and day/night.
Temperature is indicated by red (hot), yellow (warm) and blue (cold) light.
The setting “weather” has blue for rain, yellow for sunny, yellow/blue flickers for thunder, continuous white for cloudy and pulsating white for snow.
Day and night is displayed by the LEDs glowing white with different intensities based on the current time in that area.


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