photos from the final MTI 08 open house

making things interactive

thanks to Amy Bickerton


documenting your MTI project

Documenting your “Making Things Interactive” Project

You may choose a method of documenting your project that you feel is most appropriate for the project and its intended audience.  Regardless of the method you choose, your documentation should be clear, thorough, and have high production values.  (High production values means high-quality photographs, well-produced audio/video, and good writing).

Your document should convey: What you did, why you did it, and how it works. It should be possible for a competent graduate student to build your project by referring to your document.

You must link your document and any supporting materials (video, code, etc). on the class blog.

You may, for example, make an “instructable” ( on how to build your project.

You may make a narrated how-to video presentation on your project (similar to Johnny Lee’s Wiimote videos)

Alternately, you may prepare a short paper in SIGCHI format:

Your paper would then have the following sections:
Introduction (motivation and rationale)
Related work (other similar projects and how yours differs)
Description (of your project: what, how)
Lessons learned

elevator pitch template

The elevator pitch (short form – thanks to Eric Saund)

For <customer description>

who <customer’s defining need>,

<your product name>  is a <product category>

that <product differentiator>,

unlike <nearest competitive solution>,

(optional: which <competitor’s weakness>,)

<your product’s value proposition*>.

* A value proposition is a clear statement of the tangible results a customer gets from using your products or services.

project proposal guidelines

Please include the following in your project proposal/design spec:

(1) Descriptive title.
(2) Abstract (one paragraph, ~50-100 words) succinctly describe the project idea.
(3) physical sketch (as specific as you can, even if it is not what you will eventually build)
(4) system diagram (inputs, outputs, data store, process) – diagram how the system will work?
(5) skills list (what will you need to learn to do to build this?)
(6) parts list (what will you need to acquire to build this?)
(7) 4-week project timeline with weekly milestones
(optional) : written use scenario for your project
(optional) : storyboard showing use for your project

Term Project Proposal

Prepare a project proposal for the class term project, for presentation in class Tuesday, Oct 21 and blogged by Thursday Oct 23.  The project proposal will include: (1) a basic explanation of the problem, opportunity, or situation that your “interactive thing” will support; (2) your first ideas about (approach to) the design; (3) other “related work” projects in the same or similar design space; (4) the skills or knowledge that you will need to acquire; (5) the parts-list (components) that you will need to acquire; (5) a staged  work plan with weekly milestones, a “minimum” condition that you are certain you can build by the end of semester and a “maximum” condition that, if everything went well, you aspire to.

Present in class Tuesday for a class critique/discussion, with posted document ont he blog Thursday.

Exercise Three

Use what you have learned so far to build a toy — any age group, any type, etc. — that employs sensors, actuators, and externally controlled power (using a relay or transistor). It can also be wearable, if you wish to continue the theme of the first month’s exercises.  If it makes sense, make your toy have memory, or state.

Present in class Thursday October 16.