Bioart Stencil

Please watch this video on screenprinting with vinyl stencils.

Using a digital photograph of your antibiotic-responsive experiment, create a black/white image. You can use the trace or magic wand tooltips in Adobe Fireworks to trace the features you want. In order for the stencil to be cut on the vinyl cutter, the edges have to be smoothed out.

Email the image to Piyum by 11.59pm on Sunday Feb 4. And post your stencil on the blog.

This assignment is worth 1 point, but it is required for you to be able to complete the rest of the bioart project.

Pulse sensor

For this assignment, you’ll be working in groups to create a prototype using the pulse sensor. You can look through creative pulse-sensing projects for inspiration.

Pulse sensor resources:

Modify the project code to control an LED or buzzer with PWM. For instance, you might create a light or sound visualization that responds to your heartbeat. I added a few examples for modifying the project code.

Document your project on the class blog under the “pulsesensor” category. Include a photo or video, a diagram, and a brief description (2-3 sentences).

To receive full credit for this assignment, you must go beyond what we did in class. You must develop a creative use case scenario and/or enclosure or appearance for your project.

This assignment is worth 4 points
2 points for creating an Arduino circuit and code for processing input from a pulse sensor and a PWM-controlled output (sound or light)
1 point for clear documentation that includes a description of how you made your project
1 point if you added an enclosure or some other aesthetic dimension to the project to make it fun/creative


Sign up for wordpress and email and your username to be added to the blog.

Once you have your username set up, introduce yourself to the blog with the following info:

  • your name
  • your prior experience with electronics and programming
  • what creative materials you work with (textiles, 3D printing, organic materials, wood, metals, etc)
  • your favorite Biodesign Challenge project and why you like it


Tag your post with the introductions category.

The assignment is worth 4 points (1 point for covering each of the above in your post)

Project status update

Post an update about the progress of your final project. Include the following:

  • Quick summary of what your project is about (1-2 sentences)
  • A picture and description of what you have implemented so far
  • Code snapshot (upload your current code and briefly describe what it does)
  • A timeline and specific objects for what you hope to accomplish by April 19 and April 26 (showcase/deadline!) State how each member of the group will contribute to achieving these milestones.

Post your project update on the class blog under the “status update” category. These are due before class on Wednesday. Bring whatever you’ve made to class on Wednesday for an in-class critique.

This assignment is worth 4 points
1 point for project summary
1 point for a picture, code snapshot, and description of what you have implemented so far
1 point for updated project timeline and group responsibilities
1 point for bringing your prototype to class

Advanced sensing

In this assignment, you will explore one of the more advanced sensors and Arduino. You will work with the Sparkfun conductivity kit or the Sparkfun muscle sensor.

You will use class time to research your sensor and figure out how to use it with the Arduino platform. This advanced hands-on day should hopefully help you build more skills for your final project.

While you’re not required to use these more advanced sensors in your final project, these sensors could provide interesting opportunities for bio-electronic interfaces.

Since most of this assignment will be done in-class, your only requirement is to demonstrate that you were able to get your sensor to work.  However, you will get bonus points for illustrating a use-case scenario for the sensor.

Document your progress on the class blog under the “advanced-sensing” category. Include a photo or video, a diagram, and a brief description (2-3 sentences).

This assignment is worth 4 points, everyone in the group will get the same grade

3 points for demonstrating that you got your sensor to work
1 point for clear documentation of how you hooked up your sensor and your code
1 bonus point if your prototype demonstrates a creative use-case scenario for your sensor

Telling stories

A storyboard is a low fidelity visual representation of your idea where steps or actions are represented by panels, like a comic book. The goal is to flesh out scenarios where your project ideas might be used. Your storyboards will effectively communicate these scenarios.

See Storyboarding slides for more details.

In this assignment, you will pick your top 3 project ideas and create a storyboard for each one.

Some guidelines:

  1. Keep it simple
  2. Make a cartoon-like series of scenes (this is not polished art!)
  3. Do not commit to a technology or a UI
  4. Use 3-6 frames to represent each idea
  5. Do not use too much text

Take a picture of each of your storyboards and upload it to the class blog under the “storyboards” category. Bring all of your storyboards to class on Monday

This assignment is worth 4 points
3 points for posting a picture of your storyboards on the class blog
1 point for bringing all your storyboards to class

Brainstorming + 5 forum posts

This is a 2-part assignment. You will come up with 21 ideas for the Biodesign Challenge, and you will respond to at least 5 other students on the class forum.


In this assignment you will come up with 21 ideas for your final project. You will think of 7 project ideas for each of the Biodesign themes we discussed in class so far (3 themes, total of 21). That’s right, I said 21, and these are due by the beginning of class on Monday (March 12)! You can do it!!

The Biodesign themes we’ve discussed so far include:

-antibiotic-responsive bioart
-mycelium and sustainable biofabrication
-biometrics (e.g. pulse sensing)

You have to come up with 7 ideas for each theme. Other than that, they can be anything. Do not worry about what’s realistic or possible. Just go for breadth! Write or sketch/draw each idea on a separate post-it note. Each note can be just a few words, but be specific. For example:

  • a pulse-sensing bracelet
  • a plant that digests plastic
  • a biosensor that responds to toxins in food

Do not get stuck on one specific idea (do not submit 25 ideas that all sound like this):

  • antibiotic sensor for food
  • antibiotic sensor for water
  • antibiotic sensor for milk

Lay out your 21 post-its on a table, take a picture and upload it to the class blog under the “brainstorming” category. Bring all of your post-its to class on Monday!

This assignment is worth 4 points
3 points for posting a picture of your ideas on the class blog
1 point for brining all your post-its to class


Forum posts:

Respond to 5 students’ posts on the class forum. Your responses are meant to connect you with other students in the class in hopes of forming a potential group for the biodesign challenge final project. The final teams will form or be assigned by Wednesday March 14, so use your time now to find team-mates!

Potential forum response ideas:

  • Share your skills/academic background with a student who has complimentary skills to yours
  • Suggest a project idea that might fit another students’ skills
  • Ask a question about another students’ work style or academic background
  • Throw out a few project ideas you’re interested in working on
  • As a clarifying question about another students’ idea
  • Share a link to a related Biodesign project that might be of interest to a student based on their forum post

This assignment is worth 5 points
1 point for each forum response. This is a great way to make up points if you missed an assignment or have missed classes.