ARU module information

shorcuts: assignments . syllabus

Module leader: Krisztián Hofstädter
Module title: sensor technology
Module code: MOD000607
Wednesday 10:00 – 13:00
Helmore 038A, Cambridge


Concentrating on aspects of technology that encourage live performance and audio manipulation, this module is designed to provide the knowledge and opportunity for you to create your own performances and sonic installations. You will be expected to actively pursue your own opportunities for performance and/or exhibition. Module materials will be based on electronic components used for a variety of methods of controlling hardware and software: sensors, chips and boards for the creation and manipulation of sound. Of equal importance will be the implementation of the crucial and complex links between technology, performers, sound, the audience and the various interfaces and interactions involved. You will gain experience through a series of tasks and projects culminating in a final performance or exhibition. You will submit your collected exercises in an online portfolio, accompanied by audio-visual documentation as necessary and a brief critical evaluation, which should reference the current literature on sensor technology. This critical evaluation should place the your work in the context of current trends in sensor technology as well as provide a basis for your own own criteria and judgement.

An initial series of practical exercises will hopefully encourage you to develop a range of technical skills with embed systems (Arduino) and the use of appropriate computer software (Arduino C, SuperCollider, Max, Processing).

A materials charge may apply for this module, but I’ll try to get you the basics for free.


Let’s discuss in class, via email or in the Facebook group.



You must submit your portfolio consisting of three assignments:

a1 arduino and music (software) [25%]
a2 arduino and music (hardware) [25%]
a3 performance / installation [50%]

as a one pager website hosted on GitHub.

Deadline: 2pm Thursday 20 Dec 2018

in more detail

a1 arduino and music (software)

Your submission has to show some understanding of making music via interfacing the Arduino board with SuperCollider or Max.

a2 arduino and music (hardware)

Your submission has to show some understanding of making music with the Arduino board without connecting it to software on a computer (like in a1).

a3 performance/installation

In consultation with the module tutor, design a project based on an idea linked to sensor technology and music, for instance, a piece of installation art or technology to perform music with. This project can be based on elements of the two smaller assignments, however, in this case, you have to make sure that you develop the idea further to the extent that it can valued the double (50%).

Examples for each assignment will be provided in class, which you can use as a starting point for your assignment. Your third assignment (a3) must be discussed with the tutor by week 6. Each assignment has to be musical or feature sound.

what to submit?

1) Your portfolio needs to be submitted as a webpage on GitHub.

2) On Canvas you need to submit the url to this GitHub page.

3) As a backup, send the GitHub url as an email to the module tutor ( as well.

The GitHub website is explained further in class. If you couldn’t attend this class, please check this tutorial.


The ARU Creative Music Technology course is in the Arts department. It is advisable to focus on aesthetics and music rather than on sophisticated technology and code. This is a bit tricky of course as there is a fair bit of programming involved. Here a quote from an earlier module evaluation:

‘The External Examiner is very impressed with the scale and originality of the course, making many references to its uniqueness in higher education. We are in agreement with his belief that the emphasis of the module should remain aesthetic and musical rather than technical.’

Yes, please focus on music when it comes to the submissions and not on ‘really clever’ code. They many times use little code but make the best out of it. You’ve probably heard: LESS IS MORE. Try to work out something with the sensors/code that is stable and start focusing on how to use this stable environment to create an aesthetic and enjoyable outcome.

assignment criteria

Your work will be marked according to the criteria set out in this document. It will be marked by me and moderated by another staff in the music department. Selected submissions will also be examined by external examiners from other universities.

most important advice

The assignments should be considered as your own projects, not something you have to do for me or the university. Follow the rules outlined in this module guide, assessment criteria, etc., however, please keep in mind that the outcomes of your assignments can (and should) become part of your professional portfolios, which you later can use for networking, job hunting, etc.

Start small, start now

This is much better than, “start big, start later.”
One advantage is that you don’t have to start perfect.
You can merely start. ~Seth Godin


Due to different student experience and expectations, this outline can be subject to change. Detailed notes for each week will be added gradually to this website.