Project 01 — Artifactory


Generate [a] physical artifact[s] from expressive user input


You will work on your own to design and build your own machine that creates physical object[s] when given user input. The output must be tangible/holdable. The input can be physical (read by a sensor), or digital (for example: scraped from the web).

Combine parts like DC motors, Servos, and Stepper Motors with gears and linkages to create a drawing, jewelry, sculpture, etc. Read expressive input with analog sensors. Feel free to use parts from around the PhysComp lab, and found parts from local Pittsburgh stores, like PCCR, Goodwill Computer Works, and Construction Junction.

This project starts to build your skills in rapid prototyping, basic electronics, kinematics, and basic microcontroller programming.

Deliverables (Crit on 2/13)

  • A machine that completes the prompt
  • If possible, an assortment of your artifacts
  • Documentation
    • A well-documented Git repo of all your code on GitHub
    • Photos of your process work (take these throughout)
    • Photos of your machine both stationary and in action
    • An overhead step-by-step guide video/gif, similar in style to the instructional GIFs you might find on /r/GIFRecipes

Project 00

Complete as many sub-projects as you can, in order, before the next class:

  1. Draw a circle with a stroke and a fill in the center of the screen
  2. Draw 200 circles of increasing size and color value in a rectangular grid
  3. Animate a circle so it chases your cursor, like a ghost chasing after Pac-Man
  4. Draw three circles with different personalities that chase your cursor
  5. Build your own copy of or Boomshine
  6. Animate two shapes with the following script (for inspiration: Heider and Simmel):
    1. Shapes enter scene
    2. Shapes begin discussion
    3. Shapes begin to bicker
    4. Shapes angrily walk away from each other, leaving the scene


  1. A Git repo (hosted on GitHub) with a separate folder for each sub-project
  2. All code for each project, liberally commented
  3. Screen recordings (video or GIF) of each sub-project