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

Building Interactive Devices (Wintersemester 2020/2021)

Dozent: Prof. Dr. Patrick Baudisch (Human-Computer Interaction) , Prof. Dr. Patrick Baudisch (Human-Computer Interaction)
Tutoren: Robert Kovacs Jotaro Shigeyama

Allgemeine Information

  • Semesterwochenstunden: 4
  • ECTS: 6
  • Benotet: Ja
  • Einschreibefrist: 01.10.-20.11.2020
  • Lehrform: Vorlesung
  • Belegungsart: Wahlpflichtmodul
  • Lehrsprache: Deutsch

Studiengänge, Modulgruppen & Module

IT-Systems Engineering BA


This hands-on class teaches two most recent evolution steps in interactive technologies: (1) interaction in 3D space, tracked using depth cameras and (2) interaction with physical matter by means of 3D printers, laser cutters, and robotics. The class wil be held on zoom.

In teams of two, students are given a projector, a Kinect depth camera, a tripod, an Arduino electronic kit, motors and encodes, a haptic actuator, among other materials.

First half: 3D Interaction based on Computer Vision

  1. (Software Install Day: Bring your own laptop)
  2. Overview
  3. Image Segmentation to make a touchpad
  4. Machine Learning to recognize foot-drawn letters
  5. Homography to make a touchscreen
  6. Unity plus Kinect for gesture interaction
  7. Depth sensing

Second Half: Material Interaction 

  1. Statics, Trusses, and Springs
  2. Arduino and Electronics
  3. Control and Dynamics
  4. Robotics, Actuation, Friction, and Mechanisms
  5. Laser Cutting
  6. Very large and Very Small Actuation
  7. Robotics Competition

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 lecturers and teaching assistants. Students write code in C++ using the computer vision toolkit OpenCV and the Kinect SDK 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 to bootstrap assignments.­­­­­­­­­­­

Building Interactive Devices" works with and without "Building Interactive Systems
Building Interactive Devices" is designed to complement our other undergrad class called "Building Interactive Systems"--yet both are independent of each other, so that you may take them in any order or just one of them. "Building Interactive Devices" provides fifteen blocks of individual techniques and assignments--the engineering foundation. "Building Interactive Systems" then puts it all together by picking a single software/hardware challenge and following through on it. If you think of our HCI undergrad curriculum as a tree, think of "Building Interactive Systems" as its root, while "Building Interactive Devices" forms the leaves.



No prerequisites. An interest in building and coding is certainly beneficial.

Lern- und Lehrformen

[UPDATED 2.11.2020]

While we were initially hoping to run this class in person, that hope seems to become less realistic every day. We will therefore most likely run this class via zoom.

In order to prepare, we are asking you for three things:

  1. This class is highly interactive and requires participants to see each other's physical prototypes throughout class time. We therefore ask you to make sure to have a webcam up and running with zoom. If you should not be able to access a webcam or feel uncomfortable being on webcam throughout the lecture time, we kindly ask you not to register for this class. We have webcams for you if you don't have one.
  2. Pickup is now ready. Please come pick up your packages of 4kg worth of class materials (Kinect, Tripods, Prototyping Kit) at the HCI Multi-display Lab (Hauptgebäude, second floor, atrium) from 2/11/2020 until 5/11/2020 from 10 AM to 12PM, or email jotaro.shigeyama[at]hpi.de for an appoinment. If you should not be able to pick up the materials or feel uncomfortable visiting HPI in order to retrieve the materials, we kindly ask you not to register for this class.Please join BID2020 discord server. There will be TA ready for support during installation / setup and for weekly assignments. The link to the discord is on the class wiki.
  3. Please join BID2020 discord server. There will be TA ready for support during installation / setup and for weekly assignments. The link to the discord is on the class wiki.
  4. Please install the development environment necessary for some of the class assignments by 06.11.2020 from https://hpi.de/baudisch/dokuwiki/bid-ws2021/assignments/0-software-setup. In classes Image Segmentation, Machine Learning Gesture Interaction and Homography, you will be programming using Microsoft Kinect Framework. If you are using a computer running Microsoft Windows, you can run the code natively; if you are running macOS or Linux we will help you setup the required virtual environment.

Looking forward to (virtually) seeing you in class,

Prof. Dr. Patrick Baudisch and TAs Jotaro Shigeyama and Rob Kovacs





[UPDATED 22.10.2020]

We usually conduct a 90 min midterm exam (40% of the grade) and a 90 min final exam (60% of the grade). Given the corona situation, we may or may not condense this into a single exam at the end.


[UPDATED 22.10.2020]

The class takes place in a single 3h block Fridays at 9:15 - 12:15 on zoom.

Class contents involving tool use (such as the laser cutter and 3D printers) will take place in the "HCI Workshop" (die Werkstatt, aka "the shop" aka H-2.45) in the main building on the second floor.

First day of class is "Software Install Day" on 03.11.2020 and 05.11.2020 (Online, TBD).
This is 3 hours during which you and the teaching team will get your computer ready for class. 

Feel free to set up your machine alone or make use of our support, either by joining us in person or virtually over discord [links to come soon].
Software Setup Guide: https://hpi.de/baudisch/dokuwiki/bid-ws2021/assignments/0-software-setup

Official first day of lecture by Professor Baudisch on 06.11.2020