Parts Needed for Physical Computing

Parts needed for Intro Physical Computing

You’ll need some electronics components to complete the work in this course. If you’ve done any electronics or microcontroller project development, you may have many of the parts already. We’ll be working with the Arduino microcontroller platform, and you should be able to do the lab exercises for the course on most any Arduino-compatible microcontroller. For best results on the labs, use an Arduino Uno, as that’s what your instructors will be using to demonstrate with.

If you’ve never done any of this before, you might want to get a starter kit. Having tried and evaluated several of the starter kits for Arduino, we recommend two: the Arduino Starter Kit, or the The Adafruit ARDX kit. Both are available from adafruit. The Arduino Starter Kit is available from other distributors as well. The NYU Computer Store (across the street in the back of the bookstore) has some kits left, but they will not be restocking after they sell out. If they’re out, you will need to order online. The Adafruit kit is the best of those that include the Uno, a few electronic components. While the Adafruit kit is less expensive, the Arduino kit includes a detailed book written by Scott Fitzgerald, who teaches this class. The book contains a series of projects that help you understand not only the electronics, but also what you can do with a microcontroller.

For the in-class lab exercises, when there’s a specialty module needed, like a radio or a specific microcontroller, we’ll have stock on hand to lend for the class period, so you can try things out before you buy them for your own projects.

There are some electronics components available in the physical computing lab cabinet. Please don’t hoard parts, so that we always have some available for everyone. We try to keep more expensive modules, like microcontroller boards and radios, available for loan as well, though there is no guarantee that these will be available right when you need them.

Basic Tool Kit

You will also need some hand tools. The shop has tools you can use, but there are a few tools you should pick up for yourself. These are common tools, and you can find them at any electronics retailer or hardware store. Below are a couple of examples of each, from different retailers.

Related video: Basic Tools

If you don’t want to buy a full drill bit index, you should at least pick up the following: 7/64″, 1/8″, 5/16″, 1/4″. You’ll use these a lot, and to avoid other people dulling or breaking your bits, get your own. They’re cheap, and it’ll save you hours of aggravation.

For more information on parts, see the Suppliers page.