During a 5 days workshop led by Jakob Bak and David Gauthier at Sonic College, participants acquire knowledge and hands-on experience of rapidly prototyping computing devices acting as physical interfaces between humans, physical environments and computers. The workshop emphasizes on technological and physical aspects of media arts, presenting a set of tools for artists which can aid them to effectively prototype and craft digital physical artifacts and human-computer interactions.

Let’s Get Physical is structured in such a way that participants are introduced to:

– technologies, platforms and programming languages supporting the craft of physical computing artifacts
– communication paradigms and concepts allowing machines to network
– data structures and algorithms capable of structuring the behavior of machines in a meaningful way

A (mini) final project is conducted by all the participants which purpose is to demonstrate the skills and understanding of the subject matter they have acquired during the workshop.

Here is a short summary of the content covered in the workshop:


– what is physical computing?
– overview of physical prototyping paradigms (microcontrollers, firmware, machine code, electricity)
– introduction to the Arduino platform (hardware, software, inputs and outputs, programming environment)
– introduction to embedded systems, sensors and actuators


– overview of networking paradigms, remote processes and protocols
– introducing serial communication, data structures, formats, and custom protocols
– how to connect an Arduino to a computer using Processing/Java, OpenFrameworks/Cinder/C++, MAX/MSP
– how to establish communication between multiple Arduinos


– embedding behaviors into machines: what is an automaton?
– how to simply describe and implement basic interactions into code using the automaton paradigm
– synchronous vs asynchronous programming: introduction to the concept of interrupts / events
– quick overview of behavioral modeling with the help of machines
– overview of some interesting anthropomorphic interactive devices