Hasso-Plattner-Institut20 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut20 Jahre HPI

Building Interactive Devices (Sommersemester 2017)

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Patrick Baudisch (Human-Computer Interaction)

General Information

  • Weekly Hours: 4
  • Credits: 6
  • Graded: yes
  • Enrolment Deadline: 28.04.2017
  • Teaching Form: Lecture
  • Enrolment Type: Compulsory Elective Module
  • Maximum number of participants: 24

Programs & Modules

IT-Systems Engineering BA
  • Interactive Systeme
  • HCGT-Grundlagen
  • HCGT-Vertiefung
  • OSIS-Grundlagen
  • OSIS-Vertiefung
  • SAMT-Grundlagen
  • SAMT-Vertiefung


In this class, participants learn how to build interactive devices, as well as the underlying concepts. Students work in teams of two and each team is given a projector, a Kinect depth camera, a tripod, and an Arduino electronic kit, among other materials.

In teams of two, participants ...

  1. build gesture recognizers and touch surfaces using the Kinect depth camera;
  2. program user interfaces on touch screen smart phones;
  3. prototype in Hardware using Arduino, sensors, and motors;
  4. prototype mechanical objects using rapid prototyping tools, such as laser cutters and 3D printers;
  5. learn the underlying concepts, in particular computer vision;
  6. follow additional overview lectures on interactive technologies, such as haptics and actuation, tangible computing, and ubiquitous computing.

Unlike the other introductory HCI class, this class teaches the engineering side of human computer interaction in a hands-on-style. The class is held in a single 3h block each week. Most of the class uses a "studio class" format, i.e., extended periods where participants construct prototypes in class while advised by the teaching team (lecturers and three teaching assistants).

Students write code in C++ using the computer vision toolkit OpenCV and the Kinect driver to get depth and skeleton data. A large part of the implementation work will take place in class and participants are provided with skeleton code and bootstrap assignments.



No prerequisites. This class is independent off our introductory class on usability ("Designing Interactive Systems"). In contrast, an interest in building and coding is certainly beneficial.


There will be 60 min midterm exam and a 60 min final exam. In order to be admitted to the exams, participants need to successfully complete homework assignments. Students will solve problems in teams of two, implement a series of prototypes, and present their work in class.


The class takes place in a single 3h block Fridays at 10:30-1:30 in H.2.57

Class contents involving tool use (such as the laser cutter and 3D printers) will take place in the "HCI Shop" (= Werkstatt) in the main building on the second floor.