Spring 2017

LMC 6650: Seeing Like a Bike

Office: TSRB 316A
Office Hours: Monday, 9:00AM–12:00PM
Email: ledantec@gatech.edu

Class Meetings: Monday, 12:05–1:25PM
Location: TSRB 323

Course Description

I am re-visiting the project studio called “Seeing Like a Bike.” We will start by disassembling and rebuilding a bicycle. Along the way we will engineer and instrument the bicycle with multiple sensors and computing capabilities so that we can begin to “see” what the it sees. This studio will mix old-fashioned wrenching and repair with digital making and hacking to create a bike-based sensor platform. The purpose of the studio is to materially explore physical computing and the Internet of Things—by the end of the term we will have a working bike and a working computational platform to sense the physical environment (e.g. road quality, geography, air quality, noise), the social environment (e.g. traffic conditions, proximity to objects), and the rider (e.g. rider position and interaction with the bike).

Students from any discipline are welcome and encouraged to enroll.

M.S. Objectives

Primary Objectives
• Demonstrate knowledge, comprehension, and application of the tools and formal design elements of digital media design.

Secondary Objectives
Ability to explain, give examples of, and defend one’s use of formal digital media design terminology

• Can design and create digital artifacts that create the experience of agency for the interactor.
• Can communicate, coordinate, and work productively as a team member.

• Demonstrate use of digital media to create prototypes
• Demonstrate good time management skills
• Demonstrate ability to set realistic goals

Ph.D. Objectives

Primary Objectives
• Students can identify, analyze, and effectively write about a domain within the field digital media and identify areas for original contribution as well as methods to pursue these contributions.
• Students can formulate original interpretations and design original prototypes that reflect an understanding of the humanistic context of digital media.

Secondary Objectives
• Apply theoretical concepts to specific digital media works

• Identify and define a suitable research problem in digital media design and apply appropriate disciplinary or interdisciplinary research methods to address it.
• Demonstrate ability to conduct original research in support of designing new genres and forms of digital media


The total grade for the class will be based upon the following factors and weights:

Reading Responses 20%
Sensor Design/Build 60%
Project Write-up 20%


Participation & Attendance

Studio attendance and participation is mandatory. Participation in discussion is imperative because it allows you to explore the readings and themes collaboratively, and in the process, discover meanings and issues that you probably would not discover on your own. Participation in class also challenges you to continuously question, refine, and articulate your own ideas and interpretations.

Missing more than 2 classes will result in a loss of 1 letter grade.

Readings & Texts

There are no required texts for this course, all readings will either be accessible via T-Square or online. Readings are ‘due’ the day they are assigned—we will be discussing them in class that day. Each reading day will have a lead discussant (or two), and everyone will write a short reading response that will be posted to the t-square blog by midnight the night before (e.g., If we’re discussing readings Monday, reading responses need to be posted by midnight Sunday).

Design Project

The design project will be in pairs or small groups. Each group will focus on a part of the bicycle and be responsible for designing a working sensor. It must work in the conditions in which a bike is ridden; it must produce usable data; it must be part of a larger system, i.e. the groups will need to coordinate with each other.

The final deliverable will include comprehensive documentation of each project.

Course Schedule

The course schedule will remain flexible with roughly 5 milestones: initial prototype, iteration 1, iteration 2,, iteration 3, and final deliverable. The expectation is that you begin building and iterating on the sensor configurations immediately and quickly. We will have some class-wide budget for buying equipment. You will all have access to the lab throughout the term and are invited to us it as needed.

Week 1

January 9

Introduction to the course and first day administrivia.

January 11

The Bicycle: 101


Zinn, L. Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, chapter 1 + 2

Week 2

January 16

MLK Day. No class.

January 18

Traffic Stress


Maaza C Mekuria, Peter G Furth, and Hilary Nixon. 2012. Low-Stress Bicycling and Network Connectivity. Mineta Transportation Institute. (pg 1-30)

Meghan Winters, Kay Teschke, Michael Grant, Eleanor Setton, and Michael Brauer. 2010. How far out of the way will we travel? Built environment influences on route selection for bicycle and car travel. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2190: 1–10.

Week 3

January 23

Studio day

January 25

Out on travel; Studio day

Week 4

January 30

Studio day

Milestone 1 presentations

February 1

Things and the Internet


Elisa Giaccardi, Nazli Cila, Chris Speed, and Melissa Caldwell. 2016. Thing Ethnography: Doing Design Research with Non-Humans. ACM, 377–387. http://doi.org/10.1145/2901790.2901905

Too Much Magic, Too Little Friction

Week 5

February 6

Studio day

February 8

Perspectives on Data I


Christine L Borgman. 2015. Big Data, Little Data, No Data. MIT Press. Chapter 1 + 2

Week 6

February 13

Studio day

February 15

Perspectives on Data II


Philip N Howard. 2015. Pax Technica. Yale University Press. Chapter 1

The Anxieties of Big Data

Week 7

February 20

Studio day

Milestone 2 presentations

February 22

Out on travel. Studio day.

Week 8

February 27

Studio day

March 1

Urban Society and Data


Henri Lefebvre. 2003. The Urban Revolution. U of Minnesota Press. chapter 1

Malcolm McCullough. 2013. Ambient Commons. MIT Press. Chapter 9

Week 9

March 6

Studio day

March 8

Data Civics


Malcolm McCullough. 2013. Ambient Commons. MIT Press. Chapter 11

Philip N Howard. 2015. Pax Technica. Yale University Press. Chatper 7

Week 10

March 13

Studio day

Milestone 3 presentations

March 15

Participating in Data


Henry Jenkins, Mizuko Ito, and danah boyd. 2015. Participatory Culture in a Networked Era. John Wiley & Sons. Chapter 1

Christopher A Le Dantec, Mariam Asad, Aditi Misra, and Kari E Watkins. 2015. Planning with Crowdsourced Data: Rhetoric and Representation in Transportation Planning.  ACM Request Permissions, 1717–1727. http://doi.org/10.1145/2675133.2675212

Week 11

March 20

Spring Break

No class

March 22

Spring Break

No class

Week 12

March 27

Studio day

March 29

Creativity of Things


Zoie So. 2014. Affording Creativity and New Media Possibilities. In Design, User Experience, and Usability. Theories, Methods, and Tools for Designing the User Experience. Springer, 675–685.

Gregory Cornelius. 2016. Is the Internet of Things a new new medium? Internet of Things Asia.

Week 13

April 3

Studio day

Milestone 4 presentations

April 5

Studio day

Week 14

April 10

Studio day

April 12

Material Agency and Publics


Tom Jenkins, Christopher A Le Dantec, Carl Francis DiSalvo, Thomas Lodato, and Mariam Asad. 2016. Object-Oriented Publics. ACM, New York, New York, USA. http://doi.org/10.1145/2858036.2858565

Lambros Malafouris. 2007. At the Potter’s Wheel: An Argument for Material Agency. In Material Agency: Towards a non-anthropocentric approach., Carl Knappett and Lambros Malafouris (eds.). Springer.

Week 15

April 17

Studio day

April 19

Studio day

Week 16

April 24

Final Presentations

Information for Students with Disabilities

Please notify the instructor if you have any disabilities with which you need special assistance or consideration. The campus disability assistance program can be contacted through ADAPTS.

Honor Code Statement

Students are expected to adhere to the Georgia Tech Honor Code.