The EPFL+ECAL Lab contributes to teaching at ECAL through courses, infrastructure and project support. Research and skills developed at the EPFL+ECAL Lab, as well as its connection to the EPFL campus, provide unique opportunities for ECAL students in fields including electronics, digital interface prototyping, artificial intelligence and material sciences.
EPFL and ECAL have been collaborating on educational excellence since 2002, bringing together complementary expertise in science, technology, art and design. At the beginning, students in design worked with new technologies from various labs at EPFL, leading to innovative outcomes which were presented at international exhibitions and won several awards.
The formal creation of the EPFL+ECAL Lab in 2007 has allowed a regular teaching offering and support to be built. In 2014, the extended collaboration led to the creation of the Electronic Makers Lab and the development of new courses. Designers and engineers of the EPFL+ECAL Lab run or contribute to 6 ECAL courses and support more than 40 semester or diploma projects per year.
The Electronic Makers Lab is a bespoke space designed to allow students from ECAL and EPFL to follow practical training in the fields of electronics, physical computing and digital fabrication. It is also a place of exchange on the use of existing resources, new media and services. This platform provides students with access to high-performance equipment and professional supervision in order to carry out individual and collaborative creative projects.
Bachelor students in Media & Interaction Design at ECAL benefit from two bespoke prototyping courses in the Electronic Makers Lab. The first gives an introduction to electronics and the core principles of programming, working with real case studies and the Arduino platform. The second course in Digital Fabrication develops on notions of 3D modelling and the creation of files for machining and 3D printing. These courses aim to equip the students to develop their own interactive physical computing prototypes and creative three-dimensional projects.
- 16 workstations equipped with electronic equipment and study kits for emerging digital technologies
- 2 computer workstations equipped with creative coding software
- 6 soldering and electronic assembly stations
- a fully equipped components library, including through-holes and SMD
- a rapid prototyping space including an electronic card printing machine, a 3-axis tooling machine, a drill press and a 3D printer
Every year, we give classes to the Foundation Year students at ECAL. With our knowledge of the world of emerging technologies, we teach creative modules that put new trends into perspective. The aim is to introduce the students to the exciting dialogue between the scientific and artistic worlds, and to give them some first tools to address interdisciplinary projects.
Creative prototyping is a graphic design course for students in the Media & Interaction Design option in the Foundation Year. Students reinterpret, both graphically and structurally, the information and pictorial content of a given source (e.g. a newspaper article, a song lyric, a personality profile, or even a complex theory) to give it new meaning.
Using fully functional interactive prototypes, each student proposes new reading keys based on imposed constraints. These are applied to the design of digital interfaces in order to provide a different perspective on the information on the page. The objective of this course is to understand the basics of graphic design in the context of digital applications and websites, as well as the different manipulations of meaning that variations in composition can generate.
- Learn the basics of graphic design in a digital environment
- Understand the challenges related to graphic and design choices
- Design autonomous interactive models
- Master state-of-the-art prototyping tools
Working in close collaboration with its founding partner, the EPFL+ECAL Lab offers complementary expertise in design research, science and technology. It aims to widen the scope of designers’ work in order to create sustainable innovation. Through courses, infrastructure and project support, the lab provides ECAL students a one of a kind setting enabling them to experiment with emerging technologies and thus, develop new knowledge and skills.