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: 03.11.2021 - 17.12.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

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

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

Matti Niinimäki

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    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 for whole curriculum period:

    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.

  • applies in this implementation


    This course is graded 0–5

    • 0 Fail
    • 1 Poor
    • 2 Satisfactory
    • 3 Good
    • 4 Very Good
    • 5 Excellent

    You will be graded based on the following criteria

    • Active attendance to classes and discussions (25% of the grade).
      • Minimum 80% attendance
      • Your attitude and activeness in class
    • The final project (50% of the grade). You will be evaluated based on:
      • Aesthetic quality of the work
      • Novelty and creativity of the concept
      • Critical approach to the topic
      • Command of the technology
      • Attention to detail
    • Documentation of the final project (25% of the grade). You will evaluated based on:
      • Critical reflection
      • Quality of the audiovisual documentation
      • The amount of detail and depth in the documentation

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    • 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 for whole curriculum period:

    • 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.

  • applies in this implementation

Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn II

    2021-2022 Autumn II

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: Sisu replaces Oodi on 9 August, 2021. Priority order to courses is according to the order of priority decided by the Academic committee for School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

    In Weboodi, at the latest one week before the course starts.

    Maximum 15 students.

    Students must meet all prerequisites and have the course in their approved study plan. Priority will be given to fulltime MA in New Media students as this course is an integral part of their alternative studies.

Details on the schedule
  • applies in this implementation


    Week 1: Resistance is Futile
    • Introduction to Electronics and Physical Computing
    • Introduction to Microcontrollers
    Week 2: Sensing the World
    • Sensors
    • Mapping
    Week 3: Making things Move
    • Motors and Other Actuators
    • Building a simple robot
    Week 4: Communication
    • Serial
    • USB (Mouse, Keyboard, MIDI, HID)
    • WiFi (OSC)
    Week 5: Project Work and Tutoring
    • Different levels of prototyping
    Week 6 : Project Work and Tutoring
    • PCB Design Basics
    Week 7: Project Work and Tutoring
    • Project presentations and exhibition setup