Parsons The New School for Design
School of Art, Media and Technology

Soft Circuits: an exploration of new materials in the context of
tangible interface design

PUDD 4550
CRN 6165

Spring 2011
Monday 6:00-8:40pm, 2 West 13th, Room 2006


Paola Guimerans

Cecilia Elguero

Office hours: email us to schedule a meeting

Course description:
The goal of the class is to explore the integration of new materials and electronics into paper and textile based interfaces. The class will expose students to a series of tools and methodologies utilized to handcraft a suite of sensors and paper-textile based circuits. Students will also experiment with electronic activated inks such as electroluminescent and thermochromic inks to generate displays that are both decorative and functional. The class will emphasize craftsmanship, usability, aesthetic value, and provide basic physical computing insight through material exploration. For the final project, students collaborate to create a group or individual project.

Course requirements:
1. Attendance: All students are expected to arrive on time for class with completed assignments. Please contact instructor in advance via email if not able to attend to class. One unexcused absence will result in a lower grade. Three unexcused absences will result in an automatic failure.
2. Documenting your work: All the work that you will  complete in this class and its process of development will be documented on the class’s BLOG. Guidelines for blog posting.

  • Images should be thoughtfully taken, try to avoid busy background, utilize good lighting and add text to explain different parts of the image if necessary. Always keep a high res version of your images.
  • Include links to work that you have used as reference or inspiration for all your project.
  • Include a list of materials used in every project with  links to where they can be obtained.
  • All your code files need to be included in your post when applicable. Remember to give credit at the top of your code if you are modifying or utilizing somebody else code.
  • You will be documenting all your circuits with Fritzing
  • Your project descriptions  should include what it looks like, what it does, what the user or participant does in response. You will get more detail about how to describe your projects when we discuss What Do Prototypes Prototype by Stephanie Houde and Charles Hill.

3. Readings: Trough out the semester there will assigned readings that will enrich and give context to many of materials that we will work with in this class. Please make sure you do the reading  so we can have a lively and meaningful discussion. The links to the reading can be found in the assignment section for each week in the class syllabus.

4. All Completed assigned work should be a direct result of the following criteria:

  • Through RESEARCH
  • Solid CONCEPT development

Grade breakdown
Weekly Assignments 60%
Participation 10%
Final 30%

Suggested Reading: details here

Materials: details here

Course outline

Week 1: January 24th

Week 2: January 31st

Week 3: February 7th

Week 4: February 14th

February 21st. No Class. President’s Day

Week 5: February 28th

Week 6: March 7th

March 14th. No Class. Spring Break

Week 7: March 21st

Week 8: March 28th

Week 9: April 4th

Week 10: April 11th

Week 11: April 18th

Week 12: April 25th

Week 13: May 2nd

Week 14: May 9th. Parsons Festival

Week 15: May 16th. Parsons Festival