Seminars at the Faculty of Informatics

Workshop on September 25th-27th - Yaniv Steiner

The Faculty of Communication science and the Faculty of Informatics are pleased to announce a seminar given by Yaniv Steiner.

TITLE: Physical Interface design

SPEAKER: Yaniv Steiner, nastypixel -

DATE: September 25th-27th, 2008

Thursday, September 25th, 2008 (10.00 am - 6.00 pm)

Friday , 27th, 2008 (10.00 am - 6.00 pm)

Saturday, 27th, 2008 (10.00 am - 2.00 pm)

PLACE: USI Università della Svizzera italiana, room 139, Main building (Via G. Buffi 13)



In this workshop we will be using "computer vision" and pattern-recognition software to control on-screen emulation of everyday devices, where students will be able to prototype a physical interface. The interface, realized as a controller for devices or services, will use pattern-recognition for implementations of physical knobs and buttons.

Just like the musical tool Reactable, which incorporates pattern-recognition to control sounds and audio effects, this workshop will be directed to create substitute interfaces for devices such as: TV, Radio and Audio devices; or for services like browsing Flickr's photos, YouTube's videos and I-tunes on local machines.

Based on "Reactivision", students will make use of a platform created by Nastypixel as a rapid prototyping too. This tool enables students to swiftly mold interfaces for a wide variety of purposes. Since our workshop is short in time - students will create mock-ups such as a visual downscale model for the computer screen, showing the behaviour of such physical devices as they would actually function. Alternatively, students will learn to "hack" physical interfaces (like TV remote controls) and adjust their behaviour from the computer.
As open-source methods of development become a new standard, students will literally open up the makings of interfaces to expose their mechanisms of operation. Combining both physical and conceptual interface ideas, students will learn ways to rapid prototype their ideas in the future.


The approach "learning by making" allows students to produce real hand-on prototypes and to learn how to design innovative pattern of interactions and user interfaces in context in which physical world and digital media are interconnected.


Considering the peculiarity of the workshop no more then 12 students will be admitted to participate.

Students from all programs (bachelor, master, PhD) can participate by applying through a motivation letter (few lines that motivate the interest to participate at the workshop) to this email with the subject "Physical Interface design". Deadline for the application request is September 18th, 2008.



Fascinated by his first computer in 1984 Yaniv started his long voyage in the realm of digital media. Initially, he delved into digital hardware and software development acquiring a vast knowledge in computer and micro-controller hardware and spent uncounted hours programming, until mastering a wide range of computer languages. Alongside, he developed an all-encompassing passion for computer games, playing them by the thousands and building, developing and designing his own. Having gained in-depth knowledge in the development and application of new technologies during many years of work as programmer, human-computer interaction designer, information architect and consultant, Later Yaniv moved to Italy and started teaching at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea. In his teaching, Yaniv has implemented his own method of 'learning by doing' developing a hands-on approach that provides designers and artists with tools to help them enter the world of computers, programming and prototyping concepts that involve digital behaviors, thus enabling them to produce interactive artifacts.

At the moment Yaniv is Visiting Professor at the University of Alghero, Sardinia, and at the IUAV at University of Venice, and Professor at the Bezalel school of art and design in Jerusalem and at NABA University in Milan. 

HOST: Prof. Mehdi Jazayeri, Prof. Paolo Paolini, Dr. Elisa Rubegni (TEC-lab,


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