Networked Objects

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Class Description

This course explores the possibilities and challenges of designing alternate physical network interfaces. In physical computing, students learn how to make devices that respond to the wide range of human physical actions. This class builds on that knowledge, covering methods for making interfaces talk to each other. On the physical interface side, students will learn about a variety of network interface devices, including microcontrollers, network radios, and serial-to-Ethernet converters. On the network server side, basic server-side programming techniques in PHP will be introduced. On the desktop computer, basic network techniques in will be covered in Processing. Students should be comfortable programming in at least one language (Processing or PHP preferred), and with the basics of physical computing. Topics of discussion include: networking protocols and network topologies; network time vs. physical time; coping with network unreliability; planning a network of objects (system design); mobile objects; and wireless networks of various sorts. Students undertake a series of short production assignments and final project, and keep an online journal documenting their work and reading. We will also do some reading and discussion of contemporary work in the field.

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