This section contains introductory reading on technical topics in physical computing.  If you learn new material best through reading, you’ll find this section valuable. If you prefer learning new material through video, check out the Video menu. To understand these topics through hands-on exercises, see the Labs.

These notes are divided into several sections:


An overview of basic electronics concepts.

Microcontroller Fundamentals

What a microcontroller is, how they work, and what their most common input and output functions are.


General concepts and terminology of computer programming. The topics covered here are mostly about programming as applied to microcontroller programming.


Sensors are components that convert other forms of energy, such as heat, light, and motion,  into electrical energy. This section introduces sensors and explains how to interface them to microcontrollers.

Serial Communication

Computers, including microcontrollers, communicate with each other through various forms of serial communication. This section introduces both synchronous and asynchronous serial communication.


In order to control motion from an electrical circuit, you need a motor. This section introduces DC motors and how they work, and how to interface them to electronic circuits.