Course Description

Designing Emerging Technologies (DET) is an intensive, project-based studio course that focuses on the design of interactive artifacts realized through the process of deeply engaging with selected emerging technologies as rich creative material. Students are led through a sequence of projects of varying lengths (one to four weeks). Projects include both individual and team activities, with teams frequently changing in size and composition. DET introduces students to emerging technologies, supports them with expert viewpoints and selected literature, and quickly enables “handles” by which students first encounter a new technology, and then in teams, develop and refine final functional prototypes which are showcased and critiqued. Unlike classes that simply use a new technology as an endpoint, DET is designed to enable students to develop and refine the design skills that will enable them to be creative practitioners when encountering a range of current and future technologies. Engaging with these technologies as creative materials.

We will cover four creative materials this semester:

  1. Perception as a Creative Material: Computer vision using Google Cloud Vision on Raspberry Pi
  2. Conversation as a Creative Material: Speech recognition using Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Google Cloud Text-to-Speech on Raspberry Pi
  3. Extra-Real as Creative Material: virtual reality using Oculus Quest
  4. Robots as Creative Material: autonomous mobility using  Husqvarna Automower


DET begins with an intensive pre-module on digital fabrication and Raspberry Pi technologies. Afterwards, the course is separated into four “blocks”: perception, conversation, extra-real, and robots, each engage with a specific emerging technology as a design material. For each block (i.e. Perception, Conversation, Extra-Real, and Robots) students will progess across four stages:

  1. Encountering
  2. Materializing
  3. Designing
  4. Critiquing

While we focus on four technologies, we expect students having completed the course to be able to apply the DET methodology and mindset to approach a wide range of emerging technologies, from synthetic biology to blockchain and beyond, all as creative design materials.


Course: DESINV 290-6 and DESINV 190-6
Lectures: Mon+Wed 10–12 in 210 Jacobs Hall
Instructors: Professor Eric Paulos, Dr. Vivek Rao, and Dr. Adam Hutz
Prof Paulos' Office Hour: By appointment
Dr. Hutz's Office Hour: mon 12–4 + wed 1:30–4 +sat 12–7
Final Presentations: Tue 10 Dec during RRR week in 210 Jacobs
Public Showcase: Wed 11 Dec during RRR week in 210 Jacobs
Final Materials Due Friday 13 Dec at 11:59PM

Creative Commons License