Originally written on June 24, 2014 by admin
Last modified on August 27, 2015 by Tom Igoe

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:

Electronics – An overview of electronics concepts.

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

Programming – General concepts and terminology of computer programming. The topics covered here are mostly about programming as applied to microcontroller programming. For a more detailed introduction to programming, see the ITP Intro to Computational Media class site.

Sensors – 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.

Motors – 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.