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T-513-LIFT: Living Technology, Fall 2015

Basic Info

  • Instructors: David Thue, Lóa Auðunsdóttir, Sam Rees
  • Contact: David: Office at RU, Venus floor 2, telephone 599-6412, e-mail davidthue[ ]
  • Contact: Lóa: loaauduns[ ]
  • Contact: Sam: samuelrees[ ]
  • Presentations and Discussions: Weekdays 13:00-15:00 and Friday Nov 27 9:00-12:00 (RU V307)
  • Pitches and User Tests: First two Monday mornings (RU V307)
  • Project Work
    • (with Instructors on-hand): Weekdays: 15:00-17:00 (V307)
    • (largely independent work): Weekdays: 9:00-12:00 (RU V307/LHÍ campus)
  • Project Tracking Software: Trello


Interactive experiences are common in daily life, and their ability to affect social change provides a rich foundation for innovation. This course explores the design and development of a particular kind of interactive experience: those that are driven by technology and designed to bring some benefit to society at large. The emphasis of this course will be team-­based collaboration, with students from both Reykjavik University and the Iceland Academy of the Arts working together to design and develop a beneficial interactive experience over the span of three weeks. Class time will combine lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and group exercises, and lab time will be focused on team project work with instructor guidance and moderation.


There is no course textbook, but you have access to several books in the RU library that might be helpful with regard to design and programming. Note that some student projects might be games, but making a game is not required. Game Programming Gems 1 through 8 (various), GPU Gems 3 (Nguyen), CryENGINE 3 Cookbook (Tracy), Unity 3.x Game Development Essentials (Goldstone). You also have access to Game Developer's Magazine (several years).

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the formal elements of interactive experiences and the relationships between them;
  • Discuss the potential benefits of interactive experiences in daily life;
  • Employ focused strategies to generate ideas for novel interactive experiences;
  • Communicate project ideas clearly and concisely;
  • Discuss the influence of multi-sensory effects on people’s experiences;
  • Conduct a user test to evaluate an experience;
  • Describe some current directions in interactive experience research;
  • Design and develop an interactive experience in a limited amount of time;
  • Discuss how interactive experiences can influence people’s behaviour;
  • Discuss how interactive experiences can be personalized

Project Work: Events & Deliverables

The term will consist of three major events. On “Pitch Day” (Monday Nov. 30, 10:00-12:00), each student team will present their project idea to the class and receive feedback from a panel of judges. On “Prototype Day” (Monday Dec. 7, morning), each student team will conduct an evaluation of a working prototype of their interactive experience with their peers as test participants. On “Demo Day” (Tuesday Dec. 15, evening), each student team will present their finished demo and run a station where guests can experience what they created.

During weeks 2 and 3 of classes (Nov. 30 to Dec. 11) each student team is expected to post brief daily progress updates using the course project tracking software. Each update is due by 7:00 on the weekday following the period of work covered (e.g., 7:00 on Wed for work done on Tue).

Before Prototype Day, each team is expected to write and submit a Testing Plan (due by 17:00 on Dec. 4). NB: Any team that fails to submit their Testing Plan on time will be eligible to receive at most half of the maximum grades for both the Test Plan and Prototype Day.

After Demo Day, each student is expected to write and submit a Post-Mortem that gives their personal account of working on their team’s project (due by 23:59 on Dec. 18). Late submissions of Post-Mortems will incur a penalty of 15% per day including weekends and holidays.

Pitch DayPresentation1 per team Mon Nov 30 (10:00) 10%
Daily UpdatesCards on Trello10 per team Tue Nov 31 to Mon Dec 14 (by 7:00 daily) 5%
Testing PlanDocument (1-2 pgs)1 per team Fri Dec 4 (by 17:00) 5%
Prototype DayTestable Prototype1 per team Mon Dec 7 (9:00) 10%
Demo DayPresentation & Final Demo1 per team Tue Dec 15 (evening) 30%
Post-MortemDocument (3-5 pgs)1 per student Fri Dec 18 (by 23:59) 20%
Total 80%


Please note that attendance during both morning and afternoon sessions is required (LHÍ students with conflicts on Tue and Wed mornings are excused for those sessions). Please inform the instructors if this is hard for you for some reason, such as scheduling conflicts or sick leave.

Participation Grade

Participation grade will be based on attendance in the afternoons. To the extent possible, this will also be based on how actively the student participates in in-class discussion (based on the instructors' subjective assessment).

The base participation grade will be calculated as 15 * (proportion of afternoons attended). The instructors can then add possible bonus points to this base grade based on a subjective evaluation of the student's participation throughout the semester (into which class discussions may factor).


For RU students, the table below will be used to calculate 100% of their grade for the 3-week course. For LHÍ students, the table below will be used to calculate a portion of the grade for their 5-week course at LHÍ.

Part of CourseTotal Weight
Group Work
Pitch Day 10%
Daily Updates 5%
Testing Plan 5%
Prototype Day 10%
Demo Day 30%
Individual Work
Participation 15%
Post-Mortem 25%
Total 100%
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