Responsive Environments (REA Lab Seminar)

This course looks at the relationship between technology, perception and the built environment. Smart, media driven products and environments are becoming extension of our sense of self. In addition, the advances in current embedded sensing and actuating technologies combined with media are creating unprecedented opportunities to blur the boundaries between the digital and the physical environment. Responsive Environments takes the notion of thinking about the digital and the physical world as an indivisible whole.

This seminar gives the theoretical and practical background through readings discussions, examining current and past case studies, and hands-on workshops to conceive and design working prototypes and speculative proposals of technologically driven and augmented everyday environments.

The course places an important emphasis on what makes the design of these responsive environments perceptually valid, the readings and the case studies focus on defining, understanding and generating discussions around the different cognitive models to evaluate and create digitally driven experiences in the built environment.

The seminar focuses on a few topics including techniques of digital/physical inversion, body-centric interaction, the perceptual logic of cause and effect, digital longevity, the natural and the synthetic. The course also covers the technical skills required to design and prototype digitally driven experiences in the built environment through series of workshops in relevant software/hardware.

The first part of the course leading to the final project will constitute of readings, context and site analysis technology documentation and workshops.

The final project will be a full scale prototype or an installation.

This year the site and the context for this semester will be in Guanzhou, China and one week site visit is planned for March 8-15. Students traveling to China will be term billed $300 for international travel and will be responsible for the cost of meals and incidentals.

Please note that enrollment in this course is limited to 16, and 10 places are reserved for students in their first year of the MDesS technology track as this course is required for them (These students must still select the course in the limited-enrollment course lottery). Four spaces will remain in the lottery for students outside of this group.