SAPIENZA Università di Roma, M.Sc. in Product Design

Smart Objects (6 CFU)

Prof. Fabio Patrizi

General Information

This course introduces the basics of smart objects, i.e., objects able to interact with an external environment and with other objects. The aim of the course is to provide students with the background needed to develop a product prototype featuring interaction capabilities. The topics covered in the first part include the notion of smart object, principles of object-environment interaction, and some basics on programming, with emphasis on command execution. The second part of the course is devoted to the prototyping platform Arduino, and covers aspects of elementary circuit design and Arduino programming. Students will learn how to make a product prototype able to interact with the external environment, through a simple circuit controlled by Arduino.

Course Programme


Course material


We will be using the "Arduino Project Book", i.e., the standard book that comes with the Arduino Starter Kit. You don't have to buy any of these (of course, you can, if you want). For Arduino and the respective hardware, please take a look at our shopping list. For the book, you can photocopy any of the copies that I will circulate (without violating the copyright as the book is released under a Creative Commons License).


Students are required to buy the Arduino platform together with some components that will be used during the course. Teams (of max 3 people) can buy a single platform (+ components) to use in their project. A basic shopping list is reported below. This will be used to learn the basics of Arduino programming and circuit assembly. Additional components may be needed, as the course progresses. These will be announced as well. Of course students can buy additional components, if needed by their prototype.



Information about exam

The exam consists in implementing a prototype that features interaction capabilities, using the Arduino platform. For students who are attending Product Design I, it is required that the project be the same. Project deliveries will take place together with those of Product Design I.

During the exam, questions about interaction aspects (including Arduino and programming) will be asked to all team members who take Smart Objects. These will contribute to the final mark.

Marking (1st delivery, 2nd delivery, final project and exam): 10% 10% 80%