Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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OpenLab: Tangible User Interfaces for Interactive Art, Design, and Performance (winter - fall 2013)

This collaborative research cohort will create tangible user interfaces for interactive art, design and performance with Professor Jennifer Parker through The OpenLab Network. OpenLab facilitates innovative, creative and collaborative research with art, community, design, and science at the University of California Santa Cruz.


Research projects developed by the Mechatronic’s project group will stem from Professor Parker’s systems based approach for fabricating functional experimental art and education devices that combine principles of kinetics, electronics, motion control, sensors, actuators, motors, and other control devices with Arduino Boards and Make Boards with Max/MSP/Jitter and Processing as the primary programming languages. The fabrication methods include, woodwork, metalwork, mold-making, and rapid prototyping to build and advance iterations of the mechatronic platform. The conceptual framework of the projects created by the Mechatronic’s project group will be developed in relation to the research topic chosen by the group to develop.

The project group will focus on the design and prototyping of tangible user interfaces to create meaningful correlations between ideas, user gestures, the controller interface, and the output of that controller. Opportunities for collaboration with the DANM Performative Technologies cohort will also be established as a means to investigate the transformative possibilities of performative objects and media into an installation space to produce interactive stand-alone exhibits building from the live Peer Gynt production


Interaction design concepts include perceived affordances, translation of physical action into digital information, and user observation. Prospective students applying to the project group should have skill in 3D modeling and animation, art, music, gaming, programming, video, engineering, robotics, and design.


Please indicate your interest in “Mechatronics” in your application. 

View UCOP Video Short on UCSC OpenLab