Semester Project

Due: Final project presentations: Friday, May 16 11AM-1PM
Instructable Due: Saturday, May 17 11:59PM

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).

The final project presentations will occur on Saturday, May 17th at 1:30-3:30PM in the HCIL. Update: the class took a vote and we will now have our final presentations on Friday, May 16th at 11AM-1PM. Like the assignments, you will work on the course project in teams of two (as usual, I'm flexible about team size--I know some of you would prefer to work alone--this is fine). Unlike the mini-project assignments, there are a few different deliverables (see Assignment Deliverables below).

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.

Project Pitches

Each person must prepare and present at least one project pitch (for ~3 minutes). This is due March 10th (during class). We will take notes and give feedback on pitch ideas in this doc. 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 MPA. To accompany your pitch, you can use live demos, whiteboard sketches, movies, slides, handouts, dances, singing, Haiku, or anything else that strikes you. Be fun, be playful, take risks.

I will be using a timing device to ensure that we stick to the 3 minute limit.

Final Presentations

As with the mini-projects, we will present/demo our work together on Friday, May 16th 11AM-1PM. However, there are a few differences from the mini-project presentations:
  1. First, we will have 120 minutes vs. 75 minutes.
  2. Second, given that the final presentations fall during lunchtime, the class voted that we should have a potlock-style smorgasbord of food. :) Feel free to bring something homemade or something store bought. Sign-up with your food here. Note: I will supply plates, glasses, cutlery, and napkins.
  3. Third, I encourage you to invite outsiders to the presentations to see all your cool, inventive work. As part of this, feel free to setup old demos as well from your mini-project assignments.


As discussed in class, one unique way of making a broader impact in this class is publishing some of your work as an Instructable. In the Fall2012 offering of this course, all student teams had to publish their final project as an instructable. As of Jan 2014, these projects have gained over 74,250 views and have been favorited 317 times including HandSight (9,330 views, 58 favorites), indoor/outdoor tracker (33,642 views, 88 favorites), x-track music visualizer (7,150 views, 63 favorites), and the HCIL Hackerspace interactive living wall (22,613 views, 98 favorites).

Collectively, we decided in class that we would loosen the instructable requirement this year to cover any project or part of a project from this semester (including your mini-projects). Given that the instructables are supposed to be done in teams of two, this more flexible rendering of the assignment makes things a bit more logistically complex. However, in brief, each person must contribute to at least one instructable.

To create an instructable, you:

  1. Must go here 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.

On your instructable please include this text somewhere (e.g., in the intro or in the conclusion seems to work best):

This instructable was made as part of the CS graduate course "Tangible Interactive Computing" at the University of Maryland, College Park taught by Professor Jon Froehlich. The course focused on exploring the materiality of interactive computing and, in the words of MIT Professor Hiroshii Ishii, sought to "seamlessly couple the dual worlds of bits and atoms." Please see for more details.

Again, as decided on in class, the instructables are due the day after the final project presentations--so, Saturday, May 17th at 11:59PM. Please list your instructable below with a brief description:

  1. Simple zipper potentiometer (Tiffany, Jonathan). Tells you how to turn a regular zipper into a potentiometer.
  2. AtmoSPHERE (XY table from K'nex + human movement visualization) (Ruofei Du, Kent Wills, Max Potasznik). A tutorial on how to make a XY table to visualize human movement in a zen garden.
  3. Math Blox (Anis, Brendan). How to make a tangible math quizzes game!
  4. Cat Tracking using Bluetooth Indoor Positioning (Sana, Hitesh). This Instructable teaches you how to build a system to track indoor positioning of cats. The purpose of this project is to get insight into pet positioning and see their interactions.
  5. High-Low Tech Touchpad: (Peter, 1/2 Chris). We show how to create the low-tech touchpad we made for MPA02.
  6. Tracking Cat Eyes via Kinect (Josh, Richard) - We use the Kinect and motors to give the illusion that a cat's eyes are following you.
  7. Music Notes (Kristin, Fan) - Sticky Note music recording device.
  8. Happy Feet (Meethu, Alina) - Audience members control the sounds a performer makes as they walk
  9. Musi(c)ity (Chris) - Persistent 3D printed visualization of music
  10. StarryNight (Meethu, Hitesh) - A tool to learn astronomy and electronics at the same time!

Assignment Deliverables

The project deliverables are due before May 16th at 11:00AM (with the exception of the instructable, which is due the next day--May 17th).
  • 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 May 16th, we'll have a presentation/demo day during our agreed upon "finals slot." I expect that we will have 8-9 presentations and each presentation/demo should be about eight minutes long.
  • Wiki write-up: Post a Wiki write-up to your own wiki subpage on this wiki. If you do an instructable on your final project, then this wiki subpage can be quite short with a link to your video, a brief description of your project, and a link to your instructable.

Completed Assignments

As with the mini-projects, list your projects below with a link to the subpages.

Happy Feet

Alina Goldman, HCI Masters
Meethu Malu, CS PhD

Audience members control the sounds a performer makes as they walk


Tiffany Chao, CS PhD
Ruofei Du, CS PhD

What if you could create physical stamps using the heat?
We also introduce 57fire, an interactive fire in a holographical display using mobile camera as input.

Math Blox

Anis Abboud, CS Master's
Brendan Fruin, CS Master's

Tangible math quizzes game!

Music Notes

Fan Du, CS PhD (Instructables:
Kristin Williams, HCI Master's (Instructables:

Carry a paper piano. Using sticky notes, write music wherever you are.

P Cubed

Peter Enns
Joshua Bradley

Cat Gear

Sana Malik, CS Ph.D
Hitesh Maidasani, CS Master's

Cat location tracking using Samsung Galaxy Gears.


Kent Wills, CS Master's
Jonathan Gluck, CS Ph.D

Remember when provides a user with a way of recalling past memories and old locations and saving memories in new ones.
Platform: Google Glass, Flickr Api


Chris Imbriano
Max Potasznik

Persistence 3D visualization of musi

World Atlas

Richard Johnson, CS PhD

Using persistence of light to create a 3D view of the world.