Course Materials

MUSIC 250A / CS377C
Human Computer Interaction Theory and Practice:
Designing New Devices




    The goal of the project is to create a physical device with sensors and electronics that makes sound.

    While the outcome of 250a should be a working device, 250B (offered next quarter) will provide an opportunity for those who would like to extend their work either individually or in a group. Budget your time and resources for what can be accomplished in the remaining time and consider postponing non-essentials for later. The nature of your design, and the strengths of your group's current members determines what can be called essential (now).

    In any case we prefer a simpler but working device now, than an unfinished greater idea.


    Projects should be in teams of 3. Teams of 2 or 4 are allowed in certain cases with permission of the instructors. Team members should have a diversity of skills and backgrounds. A team should not consist entirely of undergraduate students. Part of the goal of this project is to gain experience working in a group. We hope that you periodically take time to consider and reflect on how well your team is working and what you can do to make things better.


    Projects will be presented on December 1 in class. Each group will have 15 minutes, including time for questions to demonstrate and present their project to the class, the CCRMA community and invited guests. A successful demonstration should in some ways speak for itself. Other things to present may be :

    • reflections on your design process, including drawings, sketches, photos, etc., of how your project changed over time;
    • improvements or changes that you may want to make;
    • quantitative/qualitative evaluations of your projects;
    • block/system diagrams or storyboards to demonstrate how your device may be used;
    • an 8-square Interaction Design sketch of your final design


    In addition, a written report must be submitted by December 10. The report should detail the kinds of things that were in your presentation as well as things you didn't have time to include. You may include schematics and code examples if you feel they are innovative and worthy of documenting.

    Peer evaluation

    After the project presentations are over, we will ask each student to confidentially submit to the instructors an evaluation of their project group. The idea behind this is not to criticize your teammates but rather to evaluate things like:

    • how well you worked as a group;
    • whether each member was able to contribute to the best of his/her abilities;
    • how much / how well each member contributed to the group;
    • how your group dynamics worked (was there one leader and one follower?);
    • what strategies you employed to ensure equal or fair involvement;
    • what you would have done differently in the future;
    • how effectively your time was spent;

    The peer evaluations will be considered in your project grade.

    Project Grading - What we are Looking For

      Does it have a clear, coherent idea or concept behind it? Do we understand what it is supposed to do?

      • Hint: if you can't succinctly represent each of the 8 squares in Bill's Interaction Design framework, there is probably something inherently lacking in your design

      Is there something innovative about your idea?

      • Does it work? How well does it work? How well is your design executed? Does it crash? Does it need someone to hold the wires?


      • Is it beautiful in some way? If it is supposed to make ugly sounds, does it make them beautifully? Is it elegant or clunky?


      • Simply - how much effort went into your project?

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Last modified: Wed Oct 8 17:47:16 PDT 2003