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Unit of study_

IDEA9101: IDEA Laboratory 1

Semester 1, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The aim of this unit of study is the learning of key technical skills for prototyping and building interactive digital media within a creative design framework. The unit provides an introduction to the fundamentals of various software and hardware construction tools, and the technological platforms available for building sensor-based interfaces. Students will gain practical experience through a series of exercises and assignments. For those students enrolled in IDEA9102 IDEA Studio 1, it will provide the foundation for the technical implementation of the studio project.

Unit details and rules

Unit code IDEA9101
Academic unit Design Lab
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Luke Hespanhol,
Tutor(s) Marius Hoggenmueller,
Karen Cochrane,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Weekly reflective progress reports
Written assessment
20% Multiple weeks 300 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Assignment Urban prototyping festival
Practical assessment
50% Week 09 3 minute video
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5 LO4 LO3
Assignment IDEA studio responsive environment – technical implementation
Practical assessment
30% Week 13 3 minute video
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO5 LO4 LO3

Assessment summary

  • Urban prototyping festival: The goal of the first assignment is for each student to demonstrate what they have learned in class by designing and implementing a novel electronic circuit for an interactive system based on the ones developed in the lab exercises, which uses both sensors and effectors, including motion sensors and LED light strips.
  • IDEA studio responsive environment- technical implementation: The goal of the second assignment is to implement the technical components required for the IDEA studio project on responsive environments. It should make use of the equipment, skills, and techniques learned in IDEA lab to create one or more systems that fulfil the studio brief (please consult the unit of study outline for IDEA9102).
  • Weekly reflective progress reports: This assessment consists of a weekly agile-like reflective status report, delivered as an individual
    Canvas quiz, and providing short answers to the following questions:
    1. What have I accomplished last week?
    2. What will I do next week?
    3. What obstacles are impeding my progress?

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Work of outstanding quality, demonstrating mastery of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows significant innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or exceptional skill.


75 - 84

Work of excellent quality, demonstrating a sound grasp of the learning outcomes assessed. The work shows innovation, experimentation, critical analysis, synthesis, insight, creativity, and/or superior skill.


65 - 74

Work of good quality, demonstrating more than satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed, or work of excellent quality for a majority of the learning outcomes assessed.


50 - 64

Work demonstrating satisfactory achievement of the learning outcomes assessed.


0 - 49

Work that does not demonstrate satisfactory achievement of one or more of the learning outcomes assessed.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Penalties for late submission of work and related policies are included in the Resolutions of the University of Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, which are available at It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with these policies. Applications for special consideration must be lodged online at

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. From p5.js to Processing; 2. Communication via OSC. Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 02 1. Sounds in Processing; 2. Visualisations in processing. Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 03 1. Computer vision in processing Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 1. DMX and media architecture prototyping. Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 1. Communication via OSC – Part 2. 2. Urban prototyping with online data sets. Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 1. Projection mapping in Processing. Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 07 1. Control P5: Interfaces in Processing Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 1. Sounds with Max MSP. Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Assignment 1 class exhibition: Urban Prototyping Festival Computer laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Assignment 2 assistance Project (3 hr) LO3
Week 11 Assignment 2 assistance Project (3 hr) LO3
Week 12 Assignment 2 assistance Project (3 hr) LO3

Attendance and class requirements

The School’s requirement of 90% attendance is waived. Participation in this unit is required via online components

Please refer to the Resolutions of the University School:

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

This unit of study will build on the popular Processing and Max for Live creative computing projects. Students are advised to make themselves familiar with the web sites for these projects via their respective websites:

There are no required readings for this unit of study, but there are many good books on electronics using Arduino and programming in Processing for those new to these topics. The following are recommended:Getting Started with Arduino by Massimo Banzi (available as an e-book)


  • Getting Started with Processing by Casey Reas & Ben Fry (available as an e-book)
  • Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists by Casey Reas & Ben Fry

A list of readings and online resources will be available on Canvas.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Read and modify substantial, well-documented programs.
  • LO2. Use common programming features, techniques, and sensors.
  • LO3. Describe and discuss technical and design issues with others.
  • LO4. Develop small programs and systems that are correct, robust, and well-documented.
  • LO5. Demonstrate technical competency in prototyping and building technologies for novel and creative interactive applications.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Implementation of weekly status report.

Additional costs

Students are expected to buy electronic components for use in the lab. Estimated costs $150- $200.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.