Fundamentals of Physical Computing

Class Description

This course explores the fundamentals of extending computation beyond the glowing screen and into the physical world. Using a programmed single-chip computer, students will learn how to connect sensors, actuators and indicators to create devices, installations and environments that move computational interaction “outside the box.” Our focus is on people rather than on devices. We will consider how the human mind is affected by physicality in all environments. By making a hands-on exploration of reactive, expressive, interactive and embodied behaviors, students learn to observe users, understand affordances and move seamlessly from digital processes to tangible actions.  Course work is done individually in weekly technique labs and in groups for longer creative assignments. Note: No previous programming or electronics experience is required.


Syllabus (check here for updates)

Student Work

Student work posted as class progresses


All lab assignments appear here


Code examples will be posted as needed.

Class Discussion List

List for class discussions and announcements


Lecture slides (generally posted after class)


Selected class readings

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