Automatic Feedback System

Project Brief

For this project, I was asked to identify a system that included automatic feedback and then visually map out the components and their relationships. The chosen system could not rely on a person to manually close the feedback loop. Examples of a thermostat or a boat helmsman were also prohibited.

The project required a realistic illustration of the system and its operation, while identifying the specific components of the mechanism, their functions, and labeled in cybernetic terms (e.g. significant variable, goal, sensor, comparator, actuator, disturbances).​

The diagram also had to identify the following: The boundary between the system and its environment, the relevant components of the system, form of information transmitted between components, goal of the system, disruptions within the system that prohibit it from achieving its goal, and the component of the system that determines its response to the environment. 

Project Information

Class: Systems


Instructor: Hugh Dubberly


Duration: Four days


Key Skills: Visual design and systems design

Tools: Adobe Illustrator


Project Role: Individual project


  • Identify a system that includes automatic feedback

  • Identify the specific components of the system and their functions

  • Label the components in cybernetic terms

  • Represent the relationships between components visually


Key Takeaways

Prior to this project, I had no understanding of what an automatic feedback system was or how it was used. Working on this project allowed me to not only learn what happens within an automatic feedback system (in this case, the cooling system of an engine), but also understand the specific components and their corresponding labels. I enjoyed the challenge of having to research a subject I wasn’t previously familiar with and slowly piece together and match the components of the engine cooling system with their cybernetic terms. I learned that the model, for which this diagram was based on, could be applied to various closed-loop systems; i.e. electric iron, air conditioner, reservoir, etc.​

In experience design, we’re often exploring various systems and where the user lies within that system. Whether it involves navigating a physical space or figuring out the goal of a digital application, the use of a feedback system – open or closed, is one that is important to understand how to model and when to implement.


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John Sun

User Experience Designer