Midterm Project User Testing


For today’s recitation, you and your partner will conduct user testing for your midterm projects. Please read the notes below on how to conduct your user testing. The format of the class will be explained in class.

If you are conducting user testing:

One partner should conduct the user test by presenting their participant with the project. Meanwhile, the other partner should observe, record, and take notes of what interaction happens during the test. Make sure that if you are conducting the test, you do not try to sell your product or explain how it works. In fact, limit your communication with the tester as much as possible and allow your participant to try and figure your project out; Do not explain how it works! If they have questions, do not simply provide an answer but guide them towards finding the solution on their own.

After they have used your project, ask them about their experience. You may ask prepared questions, but also ask about any occurrences you observed during the test. Take note of how their answers address your project’s interface, accessibility, predictability, learnability, etc. Listen to their feedback and any ideas they have about how your project can be improved. Take notes to ensure you collect this data for later study.

If you are participating in the user test:

Your job is critical for providing the testers with useful information about how their project can be improved. As you go about testing their project, make sure to verbalize what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you stumble across something that is unclear, make sure to communicate this to the testers.

When you have concluded the testing, please answer any questions that your tester’s answer honestly and feel free to provide feedback about your user experience.



Recitation 5: Visual Communication

Recitation Exercise:

For your group research project, you and your teams designed a theoretical interactive device that humans living in the year 2118 would interact with. To visualize your project, you used cardboard and other materials to create a physical paper prototype of what this technology. For this week’s recitation, imagine that you will be presenting this device to an investor or selling your technology. Working individually, design a poster that advertises this interactive device and communicates how it works/ what it does/ how it is interactive to the investors or target audience.

To design this poster, you will use 2D and 3D design software (Illustrator and Tinkercad). Your poster should not include any raster images; all images should either be of your 3D model, your own designs, or from the free vector resources listed in this week’s readings. Be sure to credit the authors of any vector design that you borrow for your poster in your documentation.


Step 1: Make a 3D model

In Tinkercad, make a 3D model of your technology. When you have finished, take a screenshot of the model.


Step 2: Edit the 3D model in Illustrator

You may have noticed that your raw screenshot contains some undesirable elements, such as the background and grid. To eliminate these elements, first open illustrator and select the preset size for A3 paper. Then import your screenshot into Illustrator (either by dragging and dropping the screenshot or using import) and edit away those undesirable elements. To do this you can use the trace function to stylize your image and then cut away any excess parts of the image.


Step 3: Design the advertisement

In Illustrator, continue to design the poster for your advertisement. Your poster should include whatever you think is necessary to communicate what your technology is and how it is used. Consider including elements such as the 3D image of your technology, a title, and a slogan, etc. You can reference these advertisements to inspire your poster’s design.

When you have finished your poster, save the document as a pdf and title this pdf with your net ID. Upload the pdf to the folder with your professor’s name from this google drive. Include this image in your blog post.

Recitation 4: Drawing Machines

Disclaimer: This recitation requires you to work with higher voltages. If the circuits are not built properly or in accordance with the provided schematics, there is potential to damage your computer. Therefore, if you choose to use your computer for this recitation, you do so at your own risk. If you do not feel comfortable using your own computer, you can check out an IMA computer for this recitation. In addition, the components in this recitation (the IC and Stepper Motor) will get hot, so do not touch these components when they are powered. Be mindful of this as you complete the exercises below.


For Steps 1 and 2

  • 1 * 42STH33-0404AC stepper motor
  • 1 * SN754410NE ic chip
  • 1 * power jack
  • 1 * 12 VDC power supply
  • 1 * Arduino kit and its contents

For Step 3

  • 2 * Laser-cut short arms
  • 2 * Laser-cut long arms
  • 1* Laser-cut motor holder
  • 2 * 3D printed motor coupling
  • 5 * Paper Fasteners
  • 1 * Pen that fits the laser-cut mechanisms
  • Paper

Recitation Exercise:

This week, we will be creating drawing machines by using an H-bridge to control stepper motors attached to mechanical arms. Individually complete Step 1 and Step 2 to assemble a circuit using the SN754410NE IC and the pre-installed Arduino Stepper Library.


Step 1: Build the circuit

Build the following circuit to control the stepper. You can use the stepper_oneRevolution(Arduino>File>Examples>Stepper>stepper_oneRevolution) example code to get your motor to make one revolution. If done correctly, your motor should rotate smoothly.



Step 2: Control rotation with a potentiometer

Add a potentiometer from your kit to the circuit to allow for analog input. Then, upload the MotorKnob (Arduino>File>Examples>Stepper>MotorKnob) example  to control your motor. Please modify the number of steps within the code to 200, because the 42STH33-0404AC Stepper Motor is a 200 step motor. You can use the function “map()” in order to match the movement of the knob with the rotation of the motor.


Step 3: Build a Drawing Machine!

Once you have your motor moving via input from a potentiometer, find another person who has also completed Step 2 and pair up with them. Collect the materials needed for Step 3 and combine your parts into a mechanical arm that can hold a marker on paper, as seen in  the picture below. Use your potentiometers to make the motors turn and draw something.

Congratulations, you have just created a drawing machine!



Please answer each of these questions. Add your answers to your blog post, along with the other documentation for the circuits that you built in class.


Question 1:

What kind of machines would you be interested in building?Add a reflection about the use of actuators, the digital manipulation of art, and the creative process to your blog post.


Question 2:

Choose an art installation mentioned in the reading ART + Science NOW, Stephen Wilson (Kinetics chapter). Post your thoughts about it and make a comparison with the work you did during this recitation. How do you think that the artist selected those specific actuators for his project?



Stepper Motor:

SN754410NE Integrated Circuit (H-Bridge):

Note on how to Identify the front of the IC:

To locate this IC’s front and pinout, look for a dimple or semicircle at its end. This dimple indicates where the front of the IC is. The pin to the left is pin 1, and the diagram below depicts how the other pins are mapped.

SN75440NE ic
Image from upmakerspace.com

Laser-cut arms:

Laser cut arms: One long (left), the other short (right)

Laser-cut motor holder:

3D printed motor coupling:


Paper Fastener:

Image from createandcraft.com

Recitation 3: Sensors

Recitation Exercise:

For this recitation’s exercise, please work with a partner. Choose one of the sensors listed below and read about what it is and how it performs. Once you have picked a sensor, build a circuit that integrates this sensor with your Arduino. Use the data (input) from your sensor to drive an output (Servo-motor, LEDs, Buzzer, etc.). Document the finished circuit and your interaction with it. In addition, draw a diagram of how all the components are connected and add this to your documentation. If you finish your circuit early, you may answer the documentation questions or try your circuit with a different sensor. Please cite any sources you reference to do this exercise.

For these circuits, think back to the lessons from class, such as how to map() an analog input, as well as how to set an analog output with an analog input. This can be seen in the example AnalogInOutSerial (Arduino>File>Examples>0.3Analog>AnalogInOutSerial).


  • Moisture Sensor:The Moisture Sensor can be used as if you were doing simple analog read. Connect the sensors’ power and ground pins to the Arduino’s power and ground, respectively. This sensor’s signal pin can then be connected to an analog input pin.


  • Infrared Distance Sensor:  Similar to the Moisture Sensor, the Infrared Distance Sensor can by used by implementing the connections and code from a simple analog read sketch. In the case of Infrared Distance Sensors, using the “map()” function can be helpful.  This function maps the analog readings from the sensor to the distance between the sensor and the object.


  • Vibration Sensor:  To create a Vibration Sensor you will need a piezo disk and a 1 mega ohm resistor. You can use the Knock example (Arduino>File>Examples>0.6Sensors>Knock). Otherwise, the Vibration Sensor can be used like a simple Analog input.


  • Ultrasonic Ranger:  The Ultrasonic Ranger (AKA Ultrasonic Sensor OR  HC-SR04) can be used to detect distance. To program Arduino to work with this sensor,  you can use the Ping example ( Arduino>File>Examples>0.6Sensors>Ping). Note: In order for the HC-SR04 to work with the Ping code, you must connect both Trig and Echo to the same Digital Pin in your Arduino.


  • 3-Axis Analog Accelerometer:  For the Grove 3-Axis Accelerometer (3-Axis Analog Accelerometer) you can use the ADXL3xx example (Arduino>File>Examples>0.6Sensors>ADXL3xx).


  • Joystick Module:  The Joystick module comprised of two potentiometers which gauge motion along the x and y axis, and a pushbutton for the z axis. Because of this composition, it can be interfaced with Arduino just as any potentiometer or button normally would.



Please answer each of these questions. Add your answers to your blog post, along with the other documentation for the circuits that you built in class.


Question 1:

What did you intend to assemble in the recitation exercise? If your sensor/actuator combination were to be used for pragmatic purposes, who would use it, why would they use it, and how could it be used?


Question 2:

Can you identify your circuit with any device you interact with in your daily life? How might your circuit be used to have a meaningful interaction?


Question 3:

How is code similar to following a recipe or tutorial?


Question 4:

In Language of New Media, Manovich describes the influence of computers on new media. In what ways do you believe the computer influences our human behaviors?

Recitation 2: Arduino Basics


1 * Arduino Kit and its contents

Recitation Exercise:

In a groups of two, build circuit 1, circuit 2, and circuit 3. Carefully read the information and instructions from the links provided to help you build the circuits. When you have finished building these circuits, you may copy the code from Arduino.cc or from the IDE examples and upload it to your Arduino. Document the circuits working.

For circuit 3, you may choose to build any one of the two listed circuits.The circuit diagram and code for Arduino can all be found on Tinkercad. To view the circuits and find the Arduino code, click on the links and sign in with your Tinkercad account (or sign up if you don’t already have one). After completing the circuit, upload the corresponding code to your Arduino. Then document the circuit working and your team interacting with it. You should also switch out the pushbuttons with the Arcade button that you soldered in the previous recitation. For the circuit that you built, draw your own schematic of how the components are connected, and include this with your documentation. 


Circuit 1: Fade


Code: Arduino>File>Examples>03.Analog>Fading


Circuit 2: toneMelody


Code: Arduino>File>Examples>02.Digital>toneMelody

Circuit 3: Your Choice

Zelda Simon Says

A game of memory and patience, Simon Says is a great game that allows a player to test their ability to remember sequences of tones and lights. While initially easy, the sequence gets longer and more challenging with passing each round. First, the circuit will light up a series of LED’s. To start and restart the game, press the “start” button on the circuit. For the Zelda Simon Says circuit diagram and code, click here or use the following URL: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/bMAvN7Djoja


Speed Game

A game of speed endurance. This is a two player game where each participant races to click a button more than their opponent.. After 10 seconds, whoever has clicked their button the most and fastest wins! To play the game, open up the Serial Monitor in Arduino IDE. To start the game over, press the Reset button on your Arduino Board. For the Speed Game circuit diagram and code, click here or use the following URL: https://www.tinkercad.com/things/9reyJ6uTVoY-race-the-led/editel?sharecode=qMMfF_Cz3H5x-Esm7jx3SWGdZiYYLh864n9laKlOxxc=



Please answer each of these questions. Add your answers to your blog post, along with the other documentation for the circuits that you built in class.


Question 1:

Reflect on different interactions with technologies that you have observed in your daily life. Pick a few of these and write down your own definition of interaction based on your observations.


Question 2:

During the assembly of the circuits, we used many electronic components as inputs and outputs. Which of these components do you recognize in the circuit?


Question 3:

If you have 100000 LEDs of any brightness and color at your disposal, what would you make and where would you put it?


Question 4:

Which reflections about the nature of interaction can you make about the Figure I.1 in the Physical Computing reading?

Recitation 1: Electronics & Soldering

At the beginning of each recitation, please carefully read through the all of the instructions. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask any professors, fellows, or learning assistants for help.


    • 1 * Breadboard
    • 1 * LM7805 Voltage Regulator
    • 1 * Buzzer
    • 1 * Push-Button Switch
    • 1 * Arcade Button
    • 1 * 220 ohm Resistor
    • 1 * LED
    • 1 * 100 nF (0.1uF) Capacitor
    • 1 * 10K ohm Variable Resistor (Potentiometer)
    • 1 * 12 volt power supply
    • 1 * Barrel Jack
    • Jumper Cables (Hook-up Wires)
    • 1 * Multimeter

Recitation Exercise:

For this exercise, find a partner and work in pairs to complete the following steps.

  • Step 1: Build the circuits

With your partner, create three simple circuits on a breadboard based on the circuit diagrams below. When you’ve finished a circuit, take pictures or film the the finished circuit working. Record notes about the building process for each circuit, such as problems that you encountered, and how you fixed them.

Note: To help you read the schematics for the circuits, you may look at the components and their symbols at the bottom of this document, or refer to the diagrams in this reading.


  • Step 2: Switch the switches

Think about the circuits we are building, and their configuration. For instance, with a lamp or doorbell, the button or switch is never next to the actual light bulb or buzzer, but instead located in a place that is easy for the user to interact with. During the recitation, you and your partner will be brought to soldering stations learn how to solder. Here you will solder wires (50 cm long) to a larger push button.Once you have completed this, you should replace the push button switch in your circuit with the newly soldered arcade button for at least one of the circuits you built.


Circuit 1: Door Bell

Circuit 2: Lamp

Circuit 3: Dimmable Lamp


Components and Diagrams


Resistor symbol

Resistor Image from techversat.com











LED symbol

Image from Tweaking4All











Capacitor symbol

Image from Sparkfun.com








Voltage Regulator:

7805 voltage regulator symbol

Image from Electronics4u









Variable Resistor / Potentiometer:

Potentiometer symbol

Image from hellasdigital.com




Push Button (Switch):

Switch symbol

Image from Razzpisample



Speaker/ buzzer symbol

Image from Sparkfun.com









12 volt power symbol


Ground (GND) symbol


For your documentation, create a blog post and that includes the following information based on your experience in this recitation: Write down the list of components you used to build each circuit. Write down what these components are, what they do, and why they are included in this circuit. In addition, please include pictures and or videos of the completed circuit working, as well as a diagram of how the components are connected. Describe the process of building the circuit: Did the circuit work? Were there any moments where something failed? How did you solve the problem? Note what worked and what didn’t. Take time to reflect on this week’s readings and the recitation exercise. Publish your answers to the following questions along with your documentation.

Question 1:

After reading The Art of Interactive Design, do you think that the circuits you built today include interactivity? Please explain your answer.

Question 2:

How can Interaction Design and Physical Computing be used to create Interactive Art? You can reference Zack Lieberman’s video or any other artist that you know .


For information on how to post documentation, please see the information below. If you have questions on how to document, you can always ask your professors, fellows, or learning assistants for help:

First, go to ima.nyu.sh, mouse over “Documentation”, and then click on”Create New Documentation”

Using your account name and password, log onto WordPress


Now, you can write your blog post!