Summerschool on “Physical Computing with the Arduino” at Middlesex University
Dates: Monday 28 June to Friday 2 July 2010
Times: 10am to 5pm
Location: Middlesex University's Trent Park Campus, London, UK
Prerequisites: none, but a basic knowledge of computers would be good
Physical computing, in the broadest sense, means building interactive physical systems by the use of software and hardware that can sense and respond to the real world. It is a creative framework for understanding human beings' relationship to the digital world.
The Arduino is an electronics prototyping platform based on cheap, flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors and other actuators. It was specifically designed for use by designers and artists rather than people with a technical background.
The course will start with the following:
- Digital inputs so you can read sensors that are either on or off, like switches, passive infrared detectors, etc.
- Digital outputs so you can control actuators which are either on or off, like LEDs, lights, speakers, etc.
- Analogue inputs so you can read sensors which have a range of values, like potentiometers and light dependent resistors.
- Analogue outputs so you can control actuators which have a range of values, like dimming a light or controlling the speed of a motor.
- Serial communication with the host computer so that you can interact with programs running on it, including graphics and sound.
The next stage will be to look at actuators that make things move. You'll learn to control DC motors (including their speed), stepper motors, servo motors, solenoids, etc.
Then we'll move onto more advanced techniques which will depend on the specific interests of the participants. These could include:
- Wireless communications using RF modules, Zigbee, etc.
- RFID card reading
- DMX lighting control
- MIDI input/output (you could make your own custom musical instrument)
- GPS input for locative device
If you have a specific project in mind please email the tutor before the course on email@example.com
Equipment will be provided but if you want to keep the Arduino and associated items after the course, they will have to be paid for.
The course will be an intensive one, so you are strongly advised not to miss any sessions.