In the Interaction Lab, students receive an introduction to electronics, programming, and digital fabrication, and are encouraged to think beyond the keyboard and mouse to develop computer interfaces that consider the entire body. Final projects created might include handmade electronic musical instruments or physical paintings whose eyes follow you around the room.
Interaction Lab is a prerequisite for the Interactive Media Arts Major—NYU Shanghai’s counterpart to Tisch’s pioneering ITP program. IMA students, who are challenged to think critically about new media in order to bring meaning and delight to people’s lives, have built gloves to translate sign language, origami that can dance on their own, and robots that play with and feed your pet while you’re away.
“During the first week of classes, students love the first time they blink an LED or make noise on a digital buzzer,” says assistant arts professor Antonius Oktaviano Wiriadjaja. “But the jaw-dropping moment comes a week later, when they learn how to control their LEDs and buzzers with sensors that detect light, measure distance, check the temperature, sense pollution, and much more. It redefines their role with technology by giving them agency. They are no longer consumers—they are makers.”