Study programme 1st year

Module 3: 201600231 Living and Working Tomorrow

(for an overview of the entire first year see the Year 1 overview page)

One of the main attributes of a creative engineer is visualizing and concretizing ideas, both as independent professional and by external assignment. These ideas need to be presented in a way that allows for tinkering, tweaking, playing and testing before they are ready for market or production. There are many ways for visualizing or realizing ideas in such a way that they can be presented to and discussed with others. This process of choosing a representation, tinkering and explorative research is the bottom-line of this module.

Thematic components in Q3

Project ‘ Living and Working tomorrow”

The goal of the project is to work with the theme ‘explorative research’. Making choices from a broad selection of tools, of possible ways of realizing or visualizing an idea or selecting a suitable embodiment, in order to present this to an external client. The theme of the module is ‘Living and Working tomorrow’. The projects are future oriented. The following sub-goal has been formulated:

realize a setup showing your ideas on living and working in the future.

These ideas are generated from a structured brainstorm process or based on assignments by external clients (or ideally a combination of both). Project ideas have to be visualized in an iterative manner, during the development 6 pictures – each acting as complete presentation of the idea - have to be generated.

Design in context

When designing products and or services (or combinations), it is important to realize that new developments are not isolated, but will exist in a context characterized by the environment, users, stakeholders, society, fashion, trends et cetera. In this course, the relevance of this context will be set out and participants will practice with the identification and organization of this context for design purposes. The principles of designing in context are particularly meant to be applied within the creative application assignments. Here they are one of the basic elements for designing attractive solutions that will please the users of a product or service (along with required functionality and ergonomic usability). Also they will be mandatory for the commercial success of future products.

Design items with the user in mind. Work with tools sketching the users desires and needs (persona, scenarios) and work with shape, size, texture designing foam models and mockups. The students will learn to use principles and methods for designing products and services within a particular context and for a specific target group.

Interactive Visualization

The course will address the development of visualizations of dynamic complex systems, typically in the area of physical or biomedical processes or engineering. These visualizations involve "storytelling" and animation; they will (at least partly) be based on game technology. This part of the module focuses on basic techniques like some elementary 3D modeling, and scripting for interaction using Unity3D.

Introduction to Mathematics and Modelling part 2

This course consists of two parts: differential equations and vectors. In the first part we introduce basic elements of analysis with the aim to discuss and investigate ordinary differential equations. The purpose eventually is to investigate and understand the mathematical modeling of differential equations and dynamical systems as they occur in smart technologies and new media applications. To this end solution methods of differential equations, both analytical and numerical (such as Euler’s method) will be treated. Programming tools are used to compute and help visualize mathematical structures and solutions to differential equations. This part of the course is interwoven with the dynamical systems course.

The second part introduces vectors as a vehicle to describe geometric structures in the two-dimensional plane and in three-dimensional space. Here, the emphasis lies on linear structures, like lines and planes. With vectors, it is possible to translate geometrical properties into algebraic equations, which enables us to calculate, rather than to construct. This is particularly important if the calculations have to be performed by a computer. Nevertheless we will focus on manual computations, to get the gist of the matter. We conclude this part of the course with the study of linear transformations. Although linear transformations are described geometrically (like rotations and reflections), by encoding linear transformations as matrices, we can use algebraic methods to compute transformations.

Introduction in Physical Systems and their dynamic behavior

One of the main attributes of a creative engineer is visualizing and concretizing ideas, both as independent professional and by external assignment. A Creative Technologist will in many cases deal with physical systems that show some form of dynamical behavior (either in electrical, mechanical or another physical domain or a combination thereof). This course contributes to the theme of module 3 by suppling the knowledge for the analysis and development of electrical, physical systems and the analysis of dynamic systems. This course has a theoretical component that is strongly supported by the mathematical IMM course (differential equations). Furthermore, this course will emphasize and show the importance of simulations in the (engineering part of the) design process. To this goal the program 20-SIM will be used. Simulations can be a crucial tool for an engineer to visualize and understand (dynamic) behavior of a physical system prior to concretising it. Finally, four lab sessions will form the practical component of this course to bring theory in practice and compare it with simulation results. The course Introduction in Physical Systems and their dynamic behavior consists of two separate, yet closely related parts.

Part 1 (50%) deals with systems in the electrical domain and is an introduction into network analysis and basic electronics. It builds upon the E.D.F. course of module 2. Topics covered are:

  • Basic network analysis theory: non-ideal source models, calculations with capacitors and inductors (series and parallel elements, i-v relationships, reactances), stepresponses in first order RC and RL networks.
  • Filters: filters from a system’s perspective and analysis of first order, passive RC and RL filters
  • Amplifiers: amplifiers from a system’s perspective and analysis and application of the Operational Amplifier (Opamp) in four basic configurations.
  • Analysis of electrical systems via block diagrams (input-output relations), domain boundaries and analysis of electrical signals in both time and frequency domain

Part 2 (50%) deals with dynamical systems and will analysis single domain mechanical, electrical and hydraulic (1st and 2nd order) systems. Topics covered are:

  • Definition of System (properties); representation of systems via block diagrams or causal diagrams; concepts of storage and buffering; concept of feedback
  • Integrators in dynamical systems. Description of buffers via integration relationships; differential equations to describe system’s dynamics
  • Analogies between hydraulic, mechanical and electrical (1st and 2nd order) systems in terms of their dynamic behavior and their mathematical descriptions via Ordinary Differential Equations;  Representation possibilities of dynamical systems via: differential equations, block diagrams, Ideal Physical Models
  • Mechanical Systems; quantities (force, momentum, velocity, torque, angular velocity, power), elements (mass, spring, damper) and their relationships; mechanical sources and mechanical transformers, analysis of dynamic behavior of 1st and 2nd order mechanical systems. 

Professional Development

The aim of the professional development course is to teach students methods to achieve their professional aims, build a personal brand, and continuously develop their skills. The Wednesday afternoon is reserved for Professional Development. Each student is assigned to a personal mentor that will guide the student throughout his or her study. The mentor will help the student getting started in the study and taking control of their own (study) career. As a student, you will work independently on your showcase portfolio web site, using skills obtained in the rest of the module, to make yourself a brand. Towards the end of the module, you will write an individual reflection essay.

As from module 2 onwards, you can take each module a personal challenge for roughly 20h that grows new or strengthens existing skills. Examples of challenges are: build-up courses (math, physics, programming), language courses, cultural challenges as offered each quartile by the Vrijhof cultural department, or a challenge defined and set-up by the student him or herself and approved by the mentor.