Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify and explain the roles of physical computing and hardware hacking in the field of new media art.
  • Interpret, implement and design electronic circuit schematics.
  • Design and produce electronic circuits, physical computing prototypes and interactive artworks.

Credits: 6

Schedule: 28.10.2020 - 03.12.2020

Teacher in charge (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022): Matti Niinimäki

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Matti Niinimäki

Contact information for the course (valid 10.10.2020-21.12.2112):

CEFR level (applies in this implementation):

Language of instruction and studies (valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022):

Teaching language: English

Languages of study attainment: English


  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    The course introduces the use of electronics and physical computing as a creative medium in the field of new media art. It covers some basic electronic concepts and theory, various analog circuits, prototyping your own circuits, microcontroller programming, and the basics of PCB design. A critical insight into maker culture and the environmental impact of the electronics industry is introduced through readings, discussions, and examples.

    This is not an engineering course. The course focuses on creative use of electronics and hardware hacking, not on the theory and the most efficient circuit design. The course will also go through some essential tips for safety, use of various tools, best practices, and how to take care of the equipment and facilities.

Assessment Methods and Criteria
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Teaching and Study Methods

    • Lectures.
    • Small assignments.
    • Final project that will be exhibited in an exhibition at the end of the course.

    The students are allowed to combine the final project with projects on other suitable courses they are attending at the same time. Please confirm this with the instructor of the other course.

    Assessment Methods and Criteria

    • Active participation in class (miminum 80% attendance).
    • Completed assignments.
    • Completed final project.
    • Completed documentation.

    More details on the assessment methods and criteria can be found in the course syllabus for each implementation of the course.

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    • 6 ECTS
    • 160h workload
    • 48h of lectures and other contact teaching
    • 112h of independent work (including time for reflection, assignments and creating a final project)
    • Attendance to contact teaching is compulsory (minimum 80%)


Study Material
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    • Culkin, Jody, and Eric Hagan. Learn Electronics with Arduino: an Illustrated Beginners Guide to Physical Computing. San Francisco, CA: Maker Media, 2017.
    • Huang, Andrew. The Hardware Hacker: Adventures in Making and Breaking Hardware. San Francisco, CA: No Starch Press, 2017.
    • Loes Bogers, Letizia Chiappini (eds). The Critical Makers Reader: (Un)learning Technology, Amsterdam: Institute of Network Cultures, 2018.

Substitutes for Courses
  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:

    Replaces DOM-E5116 Electronics for Artists (3 ECTS)

  • Valid 01.08.2020-31.07.2022:


    • Introduction to Media Art and Culture
    • Introduction to Creative Coding (or equivalent skills and knowledge in programming).
    • Introduction to Workshops and Production Facilities (or otherwise completed safety and access training to the workshops in Aalto ARTS).

SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption


Details on the schedule
  • Applies in this implementation:

    Due to Covid-19 restrictions we can only have 7 students at a time in the Mechatronics workshop. The group will be divided into two groups with 7 students:

    • Group 1: Wednesdays 13:15–17:00
    • Group 2: Thursdays 13:15–17:00