Physical Computing

Workshop Series, Fall 2013

This new series is geared towards teaching the novice how to ‘do’ everything from basic electronics to building a robot. We will begin with basic circuits, then move through circuit bending and soldering, while learning some basic code with the Arduino. We will explore alternative energies along the way, culminating in the creation of wheeled robots.

basic electronics

Come learn the basics of creating circuits using playdoh, wires, and LEDs!  We will use home-made play doh to safely explore paths of least resistance, properties of insulation, and polarity. We will build off this knowledge to learn about series and parallel circuits, enabling students to create their own simple circuit boards. Note: there may be (play doh) animals involved. (Sept 12)  (read more)

circuit bending

Come take apart electronic (battery-powered) toys and use them to make music!Toy Hacking, also known as circuit bending is the creative short-circuiting of consumer electronics in order to generate sound and visual output. (Toys will be provided, however feel free to bring your own old speak-n-spells, talking dolls, synthesizers, etc) (Sept 23)

intro to Arduino

Arduino is an open-source physical computing platform and a development environment for writing Arduino software. It is used to create interactive objects, from controlling lights and sound to motors and sensors. This workshop introduces the basics of physical computing, from installing the development environment to creating a circuit and programming LED (light emitting diodes) to flash on and off through code. Students have the opportunity to set up a circuit board from scratch and experiment with circuitry, as well as manipulate the instructional code and even create their own.

intro to soldering

Learn how to solder while making a remote control that turns almost any television on and off. We will spend time learning the basics of how to solder (and how to fix it when you mess up).

alternative energy: solar

Put your newfound soldering and circuit making skills to use while we explore the possibilities of using solar power to recharge (via usb) your cell phone.

alternative energy: wind turbine

Take things to the next level as we design and build our own wind turbine battery rechargers for your small electronics.

wheeled robots

Spend the next 3 workshop periods creating your own obstacle-avoiding wheeled robot. We will design, build and program our robots and if time permits- create an obstacle course for a friendly competition between robots. (You should have previous experience, or have attended the rest of the physical computing workshops to be able to comfortably take part) (must attend all 3 sessions: Nov 18, Nov 25, Dec 2)

No experience is necessary, however since each workshop will be building on the previous ones, attendance at the earlier ones will provide a foundation for the later ones.