MW 2:00 - 04:50
Office Hours:
Wed 5-6


This course is an introduction to computer programming and electronics within the context of the arts. Each student will build a foundation in basic programming (5 weeks) and electronics concepts (5 weeks) and will apply them to a series of exercises and projects. This foundation serves as a platform for future learning within these areas during your graduate education. The class will be taught like a series of workshops, with demonstrations and time to work in the studio.

Topic breakdown:

  1. Draw, Interact
  2. Media, Animate
  3. Parameters, Objects
  4. Multiples, Extend
  5. Code synthesis
  6. Microcontrollers
  7. Sensors, Actuators
  8. Electrical components
  9. Fabrication
  10. Electronics synthesis


For the first half of the class, participants will complete weekly programming exercises and a midterm project. The second half introduces basic electronics, including electrical components, sensors, actuators, and simple fabrication techniques. A final project synthesizes the second five weeks of the class. All projects will be documented online.


The grading is based on the two projects (40%), the quality and completion of the exercises (40%), class participation (10%) and documentation (10%). Feedback for projects will be primarily qualitative and verbal, but numeric scores will also be given. More than two absences without the professor's prior permission will lower the participants final grade by one unit (e.g. an A will become an B). With each additional unexcused absence, the grade will drop an additional unit. All exercises and projects must be completed to pass the course.


Required (Available at the UCLA LuValle Bookstore, but discounted at

  • Casey Reas and Ben Fry.Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers and Artists. MIT Press, 2007.
  • Massimo Banzi.Getting Started with Arduino. O’Reilly, 2008.


Material List


  • 1 USB Arduino board Uno, Duemilanove, Diecimila, or NG (if you want a different type, let's talk)
  • 2 Solderless breadboards
  • 1 Transformer (12V, 1000mA, 2.1 mm female plug, center positive)
  • 1 USB Cable (if you're getting a USB Arduino)
  • 1 Motor of your choice
  • 1 Sensor of your choice


You may also consider the Arduino Starter Pack from Adafruit.

Additional components will be required depending on your projects. The Arduino boards and sensors can be ordered online and the rest bought at All Electronics.

Recommended online vendors include,,,