Electronics for Artists

Electronics for Artists is a course that introduces the use of electronics as a creative medium. The course covers some basic concepts and theory of electricity, various analog circuits, prototyping your own circuits, microcontroller programming, and the basics of PCB design.

It is not an engineering course. The course focuses on results and practice, not on the theory and the most efficient circuit design.

The course will also go through some essential tips for safety, use of various tools, best practices, and how to take care of the equipment and facilities.


Week One – Components, Analog Electronics, Soldering

Week Two – Arduino, Build a Robot in One Week

Week Three – Project Tutoring

Prior Knowledge

Prior knowledge of electronics is not required, but it is recommended that you have some basic knowledge of programming.

Attending either Software Studies: Programming for Artists or Software Studies for Media Designers is highly recommended before taking this course.

General Course Guidelines

  • This course focuses on projects based on stand-alone electronic projects (analog circuits and Arduino-based works).
  • Try to focus on the electronics, Arduino programming, and physical computing side on your final project. Try to avoid working on a project that requires a computer to run. (Media Lab has many other courses that combine Pure Data, Processing, or other applications to your electronics projects. Let’s try to do something different here.)
  • Although we do one very simple oscillator + audio amplifier project, this is not a synthesizer/noise making box workshop. You can work on something like that as your final project, but we are generally looking at things in a bit wider perspective. (Again, there is another course that focuses on experimental instruments)
  • USING HIGH VOLTAGE AND/OR MAINS ELECTRICITY (230V AC in FInland) IS NOT ALLOWED. This is purely for safety reasons, since mains electricity can very easily be lethal if you don’t know what you are doing. We will be working only with fairly low DC voltages and low current.
  • If you are planning on using anything above 12V of voltage or anything with current above 1 amp, make sure you double check your circuit with Matti.