Class 3

In-Class Activity

Since last week, you’ve built your first microcontroller circuits and you’ve written programs to sense the physical world. We’ll discuss how it went for you, and answer any questions that came up.

  • Review from the assigned readings and labs:
    • Microcontrollers and sensors
    • Microcontroller programming terms and tools
    • Digital Input and Output
    • Analog Input
    • Serial out: print and println

We’ll also demonstrate and discuss these in class this week:

Assignments for next class

  • Go over the Digital I/O review questions. This self-graded quiz covers the material you’ve done so far. You should be able to answer all the questions in it by now. If there are any you’re not sure of, set up office hours with your instructor to discuss your understanding the electronics concepts.
  • Read or view the following material and come to next class with questions:

Related Videos. These cover the same material as the notes above:


Do the labs below. Blog your progress and questions, and come to class next week with questions. We’ll discuss together.

Project 1

This is the first of three applications you will build in this class. Come up with a simple application using digital and/or analog input and output to a microcontroller. Make a device that allows a person to control light, sound, or movement using the components you’ve learned about (e.g. LEDs, speakers, servomotors). For some ideas on what you can make, see the Assignments page, Project 1. It’s due in week 5.

Blog your idea for next week. Come up with a plan, and get the circuit and programming working first, then think about a housing for it.

This shouldn’t be a highly polished device, but give it a housing of some sort. Cardboard or plastic boxes can work well for this. Some of these videos on prototyping may be helpful.

Document your progress on your blog in text, video, and images as you go. Include a system diagram and a schematic drawing of the circuit.

Readings for next class

The following readings provide some context for thinking about physical interaction design. You won’t be quizzed on whether you’ve read these, but your instructor may refer to these ideas in future class discussions.