Jeff Feddersen Fall 2015

Welcome! I’m very excited to be teaching this course again this year. It’s material I love, and I think now (2015) is a great time to be learning it: there’s never been more tools, opportunities, and interest in the subject. This page will cover the specifics of our section of the course.

Class Time

Thursdays, 12:10PM to 2:40PM


jfeddersen [at] gmail [dot] com. Please use this address! My NYU one will get there eventually, but gmail is preferred.

Office hours. In the past, I’ve found that regular office hours were under-used, and most contact with students outside of class ended up being via email, or increasingly, via video/chat/hangout anyway. So, my office hour policy is to make arrangements as needed. Email me and we can set up a time to talk further. On the occasions I can be on the floor outside of class times, I’ll email the class list to let you know.

Class Date Exceptions

I will be out of town September 17th, and will unfortunately miss class 3. Danny Rozin has agreed to cover it (thank you Danny!) and you’ll be in good hands for the introduction of microcontrollers.

How to use this site

There’s a lot, lot! of information at Then there’s the whole rest of the internet, starting with Arduino HQ, going on to great sites like learn.adafruit and learn.sparkfun, not to mention infinite how-tos, data sheets for every component ever made, etc… It can get overwhelming. With the ITP site, we’ve tried to do two things:

  1. Provide a week-by-week syllabus for the semester that takes you through the physical computing material in a logical progression. Each week has clear tasks, assignments for the following week, and links to labs, write-ups, and videos that support or explain the current material. Follow along here and you’ll be fine.
  2. Provide an organized set of materials covering the core physical computing topics, to serve as a first resource for any questions you may have as you study the subject. These live under the Topics, Videos, and Labs tabs. These materials are also linked to from the syllabus, but here they’re organized by subject matter, whereas the week-by-week syllabus is chronological.


The most important thing you can do is arrive to each class on time and be prepared to actively participate, with questions, stories of setbacks or successes you encountered in the lab, and interesting material and events related to pcomp you’ve found. Each week, you should put in adequate time to really digest and then apply the material. I’m unimpressed by last-minute cramming. Floor 4 is the best place to do your class work, as you’ll be surrounded by your peers tackling the same topics, and you’ll have access to second-years, residents, and full-time faculty. Our brief time together each week, and your access to the 4th floor, is what distinguishes studying pcomp at ITP from, say, just reading the internet.

30%   In-class lab work and participation
20%   Midterm a/k/a Stupid Pet Trick
30%   Final project
20%   Blog & documentation


See the following link for Parts Needed

Documentation Links

Email me with direct links to your documentation for this class. Note: please set up tags, categories, or whatever so the link goes directly to the documentation specifically for this class, and not every class, or your life blog, etc.

Class notes

Week 2:

The podcast I mentioned was 99% Invisible:
And the specific episodes, tied very closely to the reading this week:  (Englebart’s device was the “keyset”)
This book is a little weird, but one of my favorites on understanding electricity intuitively:

Week 3:

Thanks Danny!

Week 4:

Many of you looked at interactions from the MTA. New York’s circa 2000 subway cars and kiosks are by Antenna Design

Week 7:

To get you thinking about applications of serial, here is a quick list of interesting things with serial ports: