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Introduction to Physical Computing - Summer 2008
Physical Computing is an approach to learning how humans communicate through computers that starts by considering how humans express themselves physically. In this course, we take the human body as a given, and attempt to design computing applications within the limits of its expression.
To realize this goal, you'll learn how to use sensors to detect changes in energy given off by our bodies (in the form of sound, light, motion, and other forms) and feed these values into a very simple computer called a microcontrollers that will also control output of the circuit. The microcontroller used in this class is called Arduino, is much more accessible than previous microcontrollers and is intended specifically for artists and hobbyist. The core technical concepts of the class include digital, analog and serial input and output. You'll also learn how microcontrollers communicate with other computers.
Physical computing takes a hands-on approach, which means that you spend a lot of time building circuits, soldering, writing programs, building structures to hold sensors and controls, and figuring out how best to make all of these things relate to a person's expression. Students have weekly lab exercises to build skills with the microcontroller and related tools, and longer assignments in which they apply the principles from weekly labs in creative applications. Both individual work and group work is required.
Class documentation links
Week 1: Basic Electronics, Intro to microcontrollers
Week 2: Analog and Digital input, memory and variables
Week 3: Serial Communication
Week 4: Movement
Week 5: Project Development, Extra Topics
Week 6: Present finals
Grading and Requirements
See http://itp.nyu.edu/physcomp/Intro/Reading for suggested reading