Interactive Media & Game Development
Worcester Polytechnic Institute


Course Title: HCI for Real, Virtual, and Teleoperated Environments
Course Number: IMGD-3xxx
Term A 2009

Meeting Info: Tue. & Fri. 02:00-03:50pm, Fuller Labs (FL), Room 222

Instructor: Prof. Robert W. Lindeman
E-Mail: gogo at
Telephone: x6712

TA: Paulo de Barros (pgb at

Readings: We will provide you with readings over the course of the term.

These very helpful ebooks are available from any WPI computer:

PI: Programming Interactivity, 1st Edition, Joshua Noble, O'Reilly Media, Inc., Print ISBN-13: 978-0-596-15414-1

GSA: Getting Started with Arduino, 1st Edition, Massimo Banzi, O'Reilly Media, Inc., Print ISBN-13: 978-0-596-15551-3

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to make students think beyond "traditional" computer and video game interfaces, such as the keyboard, mouse, and game pad.

The course is designed to make you feel comfortable assembling low-level components to create novel interface devices, to learn how to make them communicate with game software, and to learn how the design of games is influenced by the selected devices.

Beyond games, the knowledge gained from this course will allow designers of teleoperated robotics systems, as well as traditional user interface designers, to better understand the possibilities of incorporating simple sensor and actuator systems into their designs.

This is a perfect time to study these topics, because of several current developments:

There are several objectives for this course:

There are many other things that must come together to make a successful game. Thankfully, you have four years, and a whole array of courses, within which to accumulate skills and experience in many of these.


33% Interface Design Report
33% Regular Projects
34% Final Project

Presupposed background:

In this course, students will be expected to understand systems-level computer science concepts, such as those found in CS-2301 or CS-2303, which cover systems programming. In addition, students will evelauate various interface options for video games, which will draw upon material from IMGD-1001: The Game Development Process.


The projects for this course consist of several programming assignments, designed to supplement the material covered in the lecture with practical experience. The projects for this course are demanding, and will require a lot of time. On the flip side, most people enjoy these types of projects, so it should be okay.

Most of the projects will use the Arduino platform, which will allow you to quickly (and relatively painlessly) set up a framework for building physical Input/Output devices. The Arduino has a very active community of, er, hardware hackers who not only build interesting I/O devices with the Arduino, but also provide good support for others wanting to do the same. If you want to get the most out of this course, you will embrace and contribute to this community.

Discussion Boards:

There is a place on the WPI Game Development Club's forums for this course, and you are encouranged to post your questions there, and to look for answers there. We will be using this heavily during the course for clarifications, corrections, etc. In addition, the Arduino community has forums with relatively quick turnaround. These are indispensable, so please take advantage of this as well.

Late Policy:

Projects are due at the specified date and time.
Late projects will be penalized 10% for each 24-hour period after the due date/time. Whether a project is 3 hours or 20 hours late, it will be graded down by 10%. You will be given adequate time to complete each project, if you start when it is assigned. Projects will be turned in electronically, and the date/time received will be used to determine any late penalty. PLEASE do not miss class in order to finish up a project.


Attendance is required. If you have an unavoidable need to be absent from the lecture, you do not need special permission, but you are responsible for the work covered even if you are not in class.

Office Hours:

You do not need an appointment to come to office hours; just show up and take your turn. Office hours (the lecturer's and the TA's) are an important way for you to get help or to discuss anything you have on your mind. We are there to help you; that is an important part of our jobs. Please make good use of these hours. You are cheating yourself if you do not. The table at the bottom shows the times of the office hours.


Questions and discussion are highly encouraged throughout the lecture hours. The best way to reach the instructor is by using e-mail.

The IMGD lab (FL-222) can be used for this course, and the Arduino boards you will use can be connected to the lab computers for you to do your projects there. You are also free to work on your own computer.

Class Conduct:

This course is intended for serious students. Participants will be expected to adhere to all rules of professional behavior.

Individual projects are expected to be done individually. As such, students are encouraged to discuss their work with each other, but are also expected to do the work by themselves.

Any breach of professional ethics as evidenced, for example, by copying exams or projects, downloading code from the Internet, cooperating in more than discussions and study groups, misusing computer resources, or using outside help of any kind, will be considered adequate reason for an NR in the course.

Group projects are designed so that every member gains a significant amount of new material. In the workplace, each team member is expected to contribute. Participants in group projects in this course should keep this in mind, and act accordingly. In evaluating each group, all team members will be asked to distribute a fixed set of "points" to the rest of their team, based on how much each member contributed.

It is to be emphasized that knowledge of material and professional behavior are tied together; failure in one of them negates any excellence in the other. Students who stay in the course past the first three days agree to adhere to the strictest rules of professional behavior.

The official WPI statements on Academic Integrity can be accessed at Those who have any doubt about what that means, and fail to gain that understanding after a discussion with the instructor, are encouraged to drop this class. Remember this warning - any breach of ethics will earn you an NR.

Course Schedule:

Meeting Date Lecture Topic Readings Slides/URLs Projects
1 08/28 (Fri) Intro
Intro Slides
In-Class Exercise 1
In-Class Game Demo:

2 09/01 (Tue) Designing Interactive Systems PI: Ch. 1 Interactivity Slides
In-Class Game Demo:
3rd Space Vest
ASSIGNED: Project 1: Closed-Loop
3 09/04 (Fri) Human Vision; Visual Interface Elements
Human Vision Slides
In-Class Game Demo:
Oshare Majo Love & Berry
DUE: Project 1: Closed-Loop
4 09/08 (Tue) Human Audition
Human Audition Slides
In-Class Game Demo:
Novint Falcon Haptic Device
ASSIGNED: Project 2: Sensor to Application
5 09/11 (Fri) Very Quick Intro to Electrical Circuits
Electricity Slides
In-Class Game Demo:
Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan
DUE: Project 2: Sensor to Application
6 09/15 (Tue) Human Haptics System PI: Ch. 8 Physical Input Slides
In-Class Game Demo:
ASSIGNED: Project 3: 3D Position Sensor
Paper Topics Selected
7 09/18 (Fri) Haptic Feedback Devices
Haptics Slides
In-Class Game Demo:
ION iED01 Electronic Drum Kit

8 09/22 (Tue) Designing Physical Feedback PI: Ch. 11 Physical Feedback Slides
In-Class Game Demo:
Styx 400
In-Class Exercise: Rodent Dissection
DUE: Project 3: 3D Position Sensor
DUE: Final Project Ideas Due
9 09/25 (Fri) Final Project Pitches
In-Class Game Demos: Light Guns
Time Crisis 3 / Time Crisis 4
In-Class Exercise 2
STATUS: Final Project Status Demo 1
10 09/29 (Tue) Interface Design Analysis & Re-Design
Design Report Slides
In-Class Game Demo:
nia Brain-Computer Interface
Finish In-Class Exercise 2

11 10/02 (Fri) Final Project Status Reports
In-Class Game Demo:
Wii Sports Resort with MotionPlus
STATUS: Final Project Status Demo 2
12 10/06 (Tue) Input Device Design: Game Controllers In-Class Game Demo:
EyeToy: Anitograv (Harmonix)

13 10/09 (Fri) Final Project Status Reports
(Was "Human Olfactory & Gustatory Systems; Smell & Taste Displays")

STATUS: Final Project Status Demo 3
14 10/13 (Tue) Final Project Presentations

DUE: Final Project
Design Reports Due (Thu, 10/15, 11:59pm by email)

Schedule for Office Hours:

All TA office hours will be held in FL-A22.
Prof. Lindeman's office hours will be in his office in FL-B24a.
Please feel free to contact either the TA or Instructor to meet outside of these hours!

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

Rob's Office Hours

Rob's Office Hours


1:00 Paulo's Office Hours

IMGD 3xxx

IMGD 3xxx

Paulo's Office Hours

Paulo's Office Hours
Paulo's Office Hours





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