Physical computing references

This page lists useful references about physical computing for students on the Interaction Design programme at IUAV University of Venice.


Pervasive computing, ambient intelligence, tangible user interface

Aarts, Emile, and Stefano Marzano. 2003. The New Everyday: Views on Ambient Intelligence. Rotterdam: 010. Available online at Googlebooks

Baudrillard, Jean. 1968. Le Système des objets. Paris: Gallimard. (The System of Objects. 2006. trans. James Benedict. London: Verso; Il sistema degli ogetti trans. Saverio Esposito. Milan: Bonpiani 1972/2007.)

Bullivant, Lucy, ed. 2005. 4dSpace: Interactive Architecture (Architectural Designvol. 57). London: Academy.

Bullivant, Lucy, ed. 2007. 4dSocial (Architectural Design vol. 77 No 4). London: Academy/Wiley.

Dunne, Anthony, and Fiona Raby. 2001. Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects. Basel: Birkhauser / August Media.

Communications of the ACM Volume 48 , Issue 3. March 2005. The disappearing computer. (Available online to subscribers to the ACM Digital Library.

Dourish, Paul. 2001. Where the Action Is. 2001. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Greenfield, Adam. 2006. Everywhere. Berkeley CA: New Riders

Shanken, Edward A. 2009. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon

Sterling, Bruce. 2005. Shaping Things. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

N. Streitz, A. Kameas, and I. Mavrommati (Eds.). 2007. The Disappearing Computer. Springer

Troika (Conny Freyer et al). 2009. Digital by Design: Crafting Technology for Products and Environments. London: Phaidon

Technical: physical interaction

Banzi, Massimo. 2009. Getting Started with Arduino. Sebastapol CA: O'Reilly.

Haque, Usman, and Adam Somlai-Fischer. Low Tech Sensors and Actuators. Free download from

Igoe, Tom. 2007. Making Things Talk. Sebastopol CA: O'Reilly.

McRoberts, Michael. 2010. Beginning Arduino. New York: Apress.

Noble, Joshua. 2009. Programming Interactivity: A Designer's Guide to Processing, Arduino, and OpenFrameworks. Sebastopol CA:O'Reilly.

O’Sullivan, Dan, and Tom Igoe. 2004. Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers. Boston: Thomson.
Tom Igoe's ITP course material is at

Pfister, Cuno. 2011. Getting Started with the Internet of Things. Sebastopol CA: O'Reilly.

Reas, Casey, and Ben Fry. 2007. Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists. Cambridge: MIT Press.

Pakhchyan, Syuzi. 2008. Fashioning Technology. Sebastopol CA: O'Reilly.



Reactable: Reactable (tabletop musical composition using coded counters)

UK Electronics club


Fritzing pcb system


Seeed studio

Pachube (pronounced Patch-bay)

Replace Base (spare parts for mobile phones)


Beyond the desktop (physical and pervasive computing)

ART+COM: Famous Grouse installation (virtual pool).

ART+COM: Floating Numbers installation

Cute Circuit (Ryan Genz and Francesca Rosella, Interaction-Ivrea): Hug Shirt (remote hugging)

Dunne & Raby: projects (value fictions rather than science fictions)

FluidTime: projects (mobile access to constantly updated timetable data)

William Gaver and others: Drift Table (digital furniture)

IBM: Checkout Line (advertisement for RFID tagging in supermarkets)

Ident technology: GestIC (gesture interaction through the body’s electrical conductivity)

Interaction Design Institute Ivrea: La memoria degli oggetti (interactive exhibition in Achille Castiglione’s studio)

Intactive: Multitouch Bar

Interactive Productline: Mindball (game controlled by neurofeedback)

Toshio Iwai: Tenori-On (tablet music maker)

Theo Jansen: Beach Creatures (wind-driven contraptions with rudimentary memory and intelligence)

Klein Dytham: i-fly Virgin Wonderwall (mobile phone quiz on advertising hoarding

Koert (Koert van Mensvoort):  Data Fountain (displays current financial data)

Lust: Generation Random (tabletop touchscreenbeautiful virtual dynamics)

MiME: Intimate Media projects (personal memory devices)

Mindstorm: iBar (large multitouch table)

MIT Media Lab Tangible Media Group: SandScape (tangible landscapes)

Christian Moeller: ZeilGallerie, Frankfurt (early of a reactive building façade)

Nanowires: power-generating wearable fibres

Natural Interaction: projects (an Italian interaction design company)

Reactable: Reactable (tabletop musical composition using coded counters)

RFID customer-tracking: (anonymous?) shopping mall simulation (?)

Daniel Rosin: Wooden Mirror (mirror made of wooden pixels)

Small Design Firm (specialists in interactive exhibits): projects

Sony Corporation: DataTile (configure physical tiles for linked dynamic data)

Yaniv Steiner: Artissima exhibit (gesture recognition in museum)

Haque, Usman; Adam Somlai-Fischer. Low Tech Sensors and Actuators. Free download from

Visual Planet: Touchfoil (large-scale touch screens)

Haiyan Zhang (Interaction-Ivrea): Control Freaks (game input devices)




(in Italy)

(In UK)

RS Components

(In Italy)

(In UK)

Robot Italy

(In Italy)

Smart Projects

(In Italy)


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