In Summary

Many embedded platforms that support the creation of interactive smart objects have become available over the last years. Arduino, Raspberry Pi, electric imp, mbed, MSP430, and .NET Gadgeteer are examples of hardware platforms with very different properties and capabilities. In order to make interactive artifacts additional sensors, actuators, and networking elements are available for the different platforms. Additionally there are different software environments and development tools that support developers in creating custom applications for embedded systems. It is apparent that one size does not fit all [1] and that choosing the right platform and tools is an important step towards an effective solution.

In this TEI2014 studio we first provide an overview of available platforms and tools that allow developers to create novel and tangible interactive systems. We will present and discuss developing environments, with a specific focus on browser based programming tools and social coding. In a second step we will have 2 hands-on sessions, where in each we use a different platform and create an initial functional prototype. The aim is to provide the participants with an overview of existing embedded development tools suitable for creating interactive artifacts and to provide some hands on-experience with different new platforms.

Studio Material

For your convenience you can download the platform instruction sheets here:

Pictures from the Studio

Comming soon


The studio is planned to last 6 hours. We envision a highly interactive learning setting where discussion, presentation by the organizers, and hands-on experience are included. The time plan suggested includes some flexibility and the times are based on experience in prior workshops. The preliminary schedule is as follows:

9:00-9:15 Introduction, getting to know each other, sharing background and expectations, setting the scene

9:15-9:45 Discussion and brainstorming session on form and function in smart artifacts and tangible interaction

9:45-10:30 Overview of platforms and development approaches presented / demoed by the Studio organizers, discussion (in particular on tools for social coding).

11.00-12:30 Hands-on programming with one of the available platforms. We expect to have up to 4 platforms available for the hands-on experience. Each participant can chose a platform to try out. Each platform will be explained by one of the organizers to the sub group. Participants will write their own small program (alter a hello world program).

14.00-15:30 Hands-on programming with another available platform. Similar to the first session participants can try out another platform of their choice. Here, the platform will be explained too by one of the organizers in the sub group settings. Participants will write their own small program (alter a hello world program).

16:00-16:30 Wrap-up, revisit form and function discussion, ideas on how to improve platforms and what is missing with the current platforms.

16:30-18:30 Free Tinkering time


The Studio will cover a set of platforms and tools for developing smart interactive devices. The following overview shows some of the candidates we plan to present, discuss and use in the hands-on sessions. This list may be updated with upcoming technologies closer to the studio.

MSP430 and Launchpad: The MSP430 is Texas Instruments ultra-low power and low-cost platform. For prototyping and for hobbyists, Texas Instruments provides the MSP430 Launchpad as a cheap (USD 10) but small prototyping board.

NXPs mbed platform: NXPs mbed platform takes a radically different approach from traditional embedded systems development as it provides a Web-based IDE and compiler . All code is written in the browser, compiled in the cloud and downloaded for deployment on the mbed board.

Electric Imp: Electric Imp uses the SD card form factor offering a Wi-Fi enabled development platform that manages connections between all devices within a Web-based IDE.

.NET Gadgeteer: A modular hardware design is at the core of the .NET Gadgeteer , which provides a high-level programming environment based on Microsofts .NET Micro Framework. Different modules can be added and removed without soldering providing means for interaction with the physical world as well as for communication.

Arduino: The open-source Arduino platform has been widely used for tinkering and prototyping by artists, designers, hobbyists and researchers to develop interactive objects. There is a great variety of sensors and actuators available as well as the support from a big open-source community. We will focus especially on small low energy Arduino platforms such as Seeeduino Film or Xadow.

Raspberry Pi: The Raspberry Pi platform has probably received the most attention over the last year due to its low price (approximately USD 25) and its credit-card size. It comprises a fully featured computer running a 700 MHz ARM processor with 512 Mbytes of RAM.

Blidgets: The Blidgets platform is a new modular and ultra-low power platform that allows users to create devices that communicate with smartphones, tablets, etc. via Bluetooth LE. The modular concept of Blidgets allows assembling small sensors and/or actuators in very little time which typically run a year from a coin cell and can be deployed almost everywhere. By using the tools from the meSch project, these devices can be configured and brought on line easily. We will provide each participant with a hardware unit of one used platform, which they can keep after the Studio.


Thomas Kubitza

University of Stuttgart

Norman Pohl

Stuttgart Media University

Tilman Dingler

University of Stuttgart

Daniela Petrelli

Sheffield Hallam University

Albrecht Schmidt

University of Stuttgart

Nick Dulake

Sheffield Hallam University


In order to make the most of the Studio we expect that participants have basic programming skills (e.g. processing, JavaScript, Java, or C) and that they have an interest in physical computing or in the development of new tangible devices. Prior experience with hardware prototyping (e.g. using Arduino) is desirable, but not required.

No pre-requisites such as a position paper (or equivalent) are required.
Please register via the conference website. During the registration process you can select which workshop you want to attend.


[1] Kubitza, T., Pohl, N., Dingler, T., Schneegass, S., Weichel, C., Schmidt, A., "Ingredients for a New Wave of Ubicomp Products," Pervasive Computing, IEEE , vol.12, no.3, 5-8

[2] Schmidt, A., Doring, T., & Sylvester, A. (2011). Changing How We Make and Deliver Smart Devices: When Can I Print Out My New Phone?. Pervasive Computing, IEEE, vol.10, no.4, 6-9.

[3] Petrelli, D., Ciolfi, L., van Dijk, D., Hornecker, E., Not, E., Schmidt, A., Integrating material and digital: a new way for cultural heritage. interactions 20, 4 (July 2013), 58-63