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Academic year
Didactic period
Secondo Semestre

Training objectives

The integrated course is conceived, in the organizational and didactic process and in contents, as an practical workshop in which the students are guided to the development of a multidisciplinary project, reflecting the principles of learning processes through innovation, with the development of innovative educational platforms or smart toys.
The workshop has the task of offering the student an opportunity for design experimentation and verifying his own self-management and planning skills. Particular attention is paid to period of training and to the development of the final thesis.
The course is divided into 4 modules:
The module "Educational Product Design" (30 hours) aims to provide the methodological and operational tools that guide the development and implementation of a multi-disciplinary product, synthesis of the knowledge and skills learned in previous teachings and transferring them to the educational product. The module is charged with assigning the task of directing the choice of the project, with the integrated support of the three modules and continuous coaching, the supervision of group problems and the communication section and final presentation.

The "Smart Product Engineering" module (30 hours) aims to provide practical tools for the physical implementation of the projects, with particular attention to the ability to use rapid prototyping techniques, based on 3D design and multi-physics simulation. The module helps the students in a practical manner verifying the ability to perform and analyze the experimental tests with efficiency and optimization.

The "Systems and communications for educational smart objects" module (30 hours), purely practical and pragmatic, aims to bring students closer to the modern development tools for ICT applications and to allow a simpler communication and/or integration with designers specialized in the field, to develop devices of the Internet of Things category. The aim is to support the students in the choice of technical solutions that can be followed and implemented with simple embedded systems such as Arduino.
The "Automation and interaction for educational smart objects" module (30 hours), purely practical and pragmatic, aims at the inclusion in the design chain of the control and automation part, i.e. the intelligent system that is essential and characterizes any system definable as “smart”.

The aim of the workshop is to support students with tools that allow them to create and implement a physical prototype, entirely designed within and built as part of an organic and structured innovation design project.

The main skills acquired will be:
- Methodologies and techniques of working in multidisciplinary teams as well as in a working context.
- System analysis and specification definition as learned from previous lessons.
- Methodologies and techniques for product definition and project management.
- Ability to implement simple intelligent educational systems through rapid prototyping.

The main skills (ability to apply the knowledge acquired) will be:
- integrate knowledge and manage complexity.
- develop innovative solutions in response to the needs of potential users and the requirements defined in the product and project specifications.
- develop an organic project, from the creative phase of concept to executive design.
- select and implement technical, material, manufacturing and production solutions.
- managing processes for the integration of advanced digital and manufacturing technologies for the development of new types of products.



Course programme

The course includes 120 hours of teaching intended as lessons of a purely laboratory type, with any multidisciplinary team workshops and exercises.
It is divided into 4 modules:
- Educational Product Design (30 hours)
- Smart Product Engineering" (30 hours)
- Systems and communications for educational smart objects" (30 hours)
- Automation and interaction for educational smart objects" (30 hours)

The following are the main contents of the four modules:
"Educational Product Design (30 hours)
- Design approaches in developmental age
- Game design and group behaviour
- Problem setting and lateral thinking
- Human factors and interaction in design for children
- Story-telling tools for educational design
- Digital media design for educational
- Pre-logic, logic, analogic and digital scenarios
- Educational design for disease and special purposes

"Smart Product Engineering" (30 hours)
The module provides students with pragmatic and methodological support for the design and engineering of educational smart products, mainly on the mechanical and mechatronic design part.
- 3D Design Elements
- From 3D to prototype: basic tools for additive manufacturing and 3D printing
- Practical implementation: from concept to prototype
- Mechatronic integration and mechatronic materials in smart educational systems
- How to Test the Functionality: Optimized Experimental Tests

“Systems and communications for educational smart objects” (30 hours)
The classwork will give consideration to simple tools for the development of applications on programmable hardware (Arduino or similar boards) and interfaces and applications on Android operating system.
- Prototyping of programmable electronic systems based on Arduino (or similar boards)
a. Introduction
b. Load already available programs (sketches) onto the hardware platform
c. Simple applications with LEDs and buttons
d. Expansion Boards (Shield)
e. Complex applications

- Development of graphical interfaces and simple applications on Android operating system
a. Android Studio
b. Emulator
c. Graphical User Interfaces
d. Loading an Application to a Physical Device
e. Complex applications such as smart educational systems

"Automation and interaction for educational smart objects" (30 hours)
The course prepares to design, rapid prototyping and development of control systems based on digital controllers. The student learns the basics of automatic control (modeling and feedback in the first 20 hours of teaching) and then applies in the laboratory the skills acquired in the remaining 10 hours.

- Mathematical model of a simple mechanical system of the first and second order.
- The principles of feedback control.
- The place of roots as a tool for analysis and design.
- Controller design via root location.
- Use of Matlab for design and control simulation
- Educational example on Arduino microprocessor.

Didactic methods

The didactic method foresees a wide use of integrative and workshop didactic methods, as an integrated course of an exquisitely applicative nature. The didactics of the laboratory is planned and coordinated by the teacher of the characterizing discipline, in collaboration with the teachers of each module, in order to ensure the interaction between the disciplines and avoid overlaps on the developed themes as didactic overloads. The first module will deal with the creation and management of multidisciplinary project teams, giving project specifications and management support. The shared feature of the integrated course is that the students will be guided to face a common project on the specific topics of the modules led by the teachers of the three engineering modules, which, not providing frontal teaching, will provide the necessary technical support, leaving to the working groups the time and ways to independently identify the most effective and practicable solution. The theme of the project, based on innovation in education, can be identified in collaboration with an external partner, such as organizations, companies, organizations as a realistic case study. It is also possible to use laboratories and equipment that allow the creation of small prototypes through 3D printing and simple embedded computer systems such as the Arduino platform.

Learning assessment procedures

The objective of the exam is to verify the level of achievement of the training goals indicated above. The examination will consist in the check of the technical report of the project, which will describe in an exhaustive way the methodologies and the technical solutions implemented to reach the planned objectives. An oral presentation of the work is also foreseen in order to verify the students' communicative-expressive capacity, which will be evaluated by the teachers.

Reference texts

John Dewey, Art as experience, New York, Minton, Balch & C., c1934, pp. 355 (tr. It. L'arte come esperienza, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1951)

Maria Montessori, La mente del bambino. Mente assorbente, Garzanti, Milano 1952 (I ed. inglese “The absorbent mind”, 1949).

Bruno Munari, Design e comunicazione visiva: contributo a una metodologia didattica, Bari, Laterza, 1968, pp. 290.
Gloria Bianchino, Bruno Munari: il disegno, il design, Mantova, Corraini, 2008, pp. 246.
Giorgio Camuffo, Maddalena Dalla Mura, Design e apprendimento creativo: questioni ed esperienze, Milano, Guerini, 2017, pp. 255.

D.C. Montgomery, Design and Analysis of Experiments, Wiley, 1997.
Wolfgang Wimmer, Rainer Zust, Ecodesign pilot. Product investigation, learning and optimization tool for sustainable product development, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2003, pp. 109;
Kean Yeang, Ecodesign. A manual for ecological design, London, John Wiley, 2006, pp. 499;
Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform, Massimo Banzi, Michael Shiloh, Maker Media, third edition, 2014.
Franklin, Powell, Emami-Naeini, Feedback Control of Dynamic Systems, Prentice Hall 6th edition, 2009.

Richard C. Dorf, Controlli automatici, Pearson Prentice Hall, 2010.