Modulating Mind, Body, and Space

photo of robotics parts.

"Modulating Mind, Body, and Space" introduces basic concepts and techniques for conceiving, building, and programming objects, spaces, and media that sense and respond to their physical surroundings.

Project description

We live in a reality mediated by digital objects. Our social, political, cultural, economic, and personal lives are measured by sensors, interpreted by algorithms, and realized by a multitude of devices which modulate the state of mind, body, and place. The paradigm is computational, and if we wish to understand the condition of being human, we must understand the means by which we calculate and express that humanity digitally.

"Modulating Mind, Body, and Space" introduces basic concepts and techniques for conceiving, building, and programming objects, spaces, and media that sense and respond to their physical surroundings. Students begin with a basic set of hardware components and software resources introduced through a progression of hands-on, self-guided tutorials offering both an experiential and theoretical grounding within the computational medium. By working through these exercises, students attain the practical knowledge to build a variety of digital devices, from intelligent objects to wearable technologies.

Upon completing these preparatory activities, participants will consult with a mentor to conceive of a culminating project which builds upon these newly acquired skills and extends the boundaries of the individual's experience. Throughout this process, participants may take advantage of the Department of Media Study's Extensible Media Lab, a space equipped to conduct research in electronics, embedded computing, and rapid prototyping which supports courses investigating physical computing, interaction design, wearable technologies, embedded systems, networked objects, and experimental media.

Project outcome

Participants will submit a portfolio of practice documenting their work including photographs, schematics, code, and a brief written narrative.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester (3-5 months)
Start time Fall, Spring
Level of collaboration An individual exploration with small research groups of 2-3 people
Benefits Academic Credit, Digital Badge
Who is eligible Sophomore, Juniors and Seniors studying Media Study, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Emerging Practices, Engineering, Digital Humanities and/or Interactive Design
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.

Core partners

  • The Extensible Media Lab, Crosby 201, South Campus 
  • Department of Media Study

Project mentor

Jason Geistweidt

Clinical Assistant Professor

Media Study

248 Center for the Arts

Phone: (716) 645-0942



To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. 

To get started, contact the project mentor using the contact information above to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge. Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor

Preparation guidance

In preparation for working with a mentor toward a final culminating project, students should conduct introductory research into basic electrical theory and circuit design, programming microcontrollers via the Arduino IDE (integrated development environment), and complete a series of educational tutorials. For this project, we will be using the Metro development board from A series of progressive tutorials are also provided here:

To complete these preparatory exercises, students will need access to a computer on which they may install software and will need to purchase either the Budget Pack for Metro w/ Metro Board here:

You should complete the introductory readings here: and attempt and document (a photo is fine) the following tutorials: 

Students are encouraged to attempt the other tutorials as well, though they may need additional components not included in the kit above. The Lab can provide these for you as well as help with any and all tutorials during Friday Open Lab.

An additional resource is the book Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform (3rd edition) by Massimo Banzi, which you might want to pick up upon completion of the activities above. Student may consult with a mentor regarding their culminating project.

Inspiration may be found here: as well as here: