Hasso-Plattner-InstitutSDG am HPI
Hasso-Plattner-InstitutDSG am HPI

Sonic Thinking - Methods of Working with Sound (Wintersemester 2023/2024)

Lecturer: Dr. Julia von Thienen

General Information

  • Weekly Hours: 2
  • Credits: 3
  • Graded: yes
  • Enrolment Deadline: 01.10.2023 - 22.10.2023
  • Teaching Form: Seminar
  • Enrolment Type: Compulsory Elective Module
  • Course Language: English

Programs, Module Groups & Modules

IT-Systems Engineering MA
Digital Health MA
Cybersecurity MA
Data Engineering MA
Software Systems Engineering MA
  • Professional Skills
    • HPI-PSK-DT Design Thinking


Course Details:

  • Starting Date: October 16th, 2023
  • Schedule: Mondays, 15:15 - 16:45 pm
  • Location: HPI Main Building HE-51/52
  • Format: The lecture will predominantly be held in person. Additionally, session slides will be shared on the class's Slack channel.

In this course, you practice how to design and conduct your own creative IT project. You receive ample theoretical input to inspire your project, and as a frame to reflect on what you are doing.  

While the human sense of vision is harnessed a lot in human-computer interaction, opportunities arising from other human senses are much less explored. This class is especially dedicated to the auditory sense and resulting design opportunities in the field of digital engineering.

A major part of the class is your own creative project. Based on personal interests and passions, you can self-design your own digital engineering project, in which you explore opportunities of sound.

This class covers input from diverse angles and different lecturers. You also have time in class to probe the relevance and implication of each session topic for your own project. 

Compared to previous Sonic Thinking classes, this semester focuses on introducing new content. Specifically, it explores the intersection of sound with nature, and emphasizes hands-on application development in class. Furthermore, the course delves into tangible interactions, haptic experiences, as well as body movement in relation to sound. With this emphasis, the seminar complements the Neurodesign Lecture - Fostering Human-Nature Empathy through Digital Innovation. However, both classes can also be taken independently.

This Sonic Thinking seminar is offered (in alphabetical order) by: Leonardo Auri, Diane Barbé, Luca Hilbrich, Julius Holtz, Dr. Marisol Jimenez, Ayako Kataoka Blasser, Nitsan Margaliot, Philipp Steigerwald, Tim Strauch, Dr. Cobi van Tonder, and Dr. Julia von Thienen. You can read more about the HPI teaching team here.


Your major grading-relevant work in this class will be a creative project, which you develop in the broad area of sound and digital engineering (3/4 of grade).
You can pursue this project alone as well as in teams.
You have great creative freedom to choose and design a project that is of deep interest to you.
You may pursue one bigger project across this class and the Neurodesign Lecture (Mondays, 11 am-12:30).
You can continue to work on a project begun in an earlier neurodesign or sonic thinking class.

  • 1/4 of your grade is based on your first project presentation.
  • 1/4 of your grade is based on your final project presentation.
  • 1/4 of your grade is based on a brief & basic homework
  • 1/4 of your grade is based on the documentation of your project including code (or other digital engineering prototype) due March 31st, 2024. The project documentation can be an amended version of your PowerPoint slides from the in-class presentations.

You are welcome to look into the course. In case you decide to step back, you need to resign by contacting the Studienreferat and/or writing an e-mail to Julia.vonThienen [at] hpi.de by Dec 3rd, 2023. On Dec 4th,  the first grading-relevant presentations are held in class.


16.10.23 Human-Media Interaction: Thinking in Sound vs. Other Media (Dr. Julia von Thienen)

23.10.23 Sound in a Snap: Quick Start for Programmers (Leonardo Auri)

30.10.23 Ears Wide Open: A Hands-On Workshop in Field Recording (Diane Barbé)

6.11.23 Music for Trees and Other Projects at the Intersection of Sound and Space (Dr. Cobi van Tonder)

13.11.23 An Improvisation Workshop: Exploring Movement and Sound (Nitsan Margaliot)

20.11.23 Haptic Sound - Art and Technology of Sensing Sonic Vibrations (Dr. Marisol Jimenez)

27.11.23 Sonic Environing, and the Making of Introspective Gardens (Julius Holtz)

4.12.23   Your turn: First student presentations

11.12.23 Body Mind Composition (Ayako Kataoka Blasser)

18.12.23 Eco-Acoustics and Bio-Music (Dr. Marisol Jimenez)

8.1.24 Sounds of Japanese Gardens (Ayako Kataoka Blasser)

15.1.24 Sound and AI Technology (Leonardo Auri)

22.1.24 Data Sonification: Exploring Opportunities and Avoiding Pitfalls - Craft Your Own Applications (Luca Hilbrich, Philipp Steigerwald, Tim Strauch)

29.1.24 Embodied Listening and Soundscape Composition (Dr. Marisol Jimenez)

5.2.24  Your turn: Final student presentations