Syllabus-Networked Objects

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Schedule subject to change

Week 1

  • Intro, Tools
    • Embedded net devices
    • radios
  • Discuss phys comp improv project
  • Soldering review
  • Syllabus review
  • Assignment:
    • Phys Comp Improv Project
    • Get Ethernet components now. You’ll need them in week 3
  • Reading:

Week 2

  • Serial protocols and Network Structures
  • TCP/IP basics
  • Layers and OSI model
  • assembling a basic embedded net device
  • Assignment due: phys comp improv project
  • Reading:

Week 3

  • Intro to Embedded net with Lantronix modules
  • a little on PHP
  • Assignment: Networked Pong. Make a networked pong client. You’ll be connecting to the server in chapter 5, project 7.
  • Reading:

Week 4

  • Assignment due: pong project
  • HTTP, mail, and other network exchange protocols
  • A little more on serial, software serial, hardware handshaking
  • Assignment: Espionage Chain – draft
    • receive a secret message from one partner, using a particular communications technology, add to the message, then pass it along to the next partner, using a different communications technology
    • create a simple physical output to indicate success
    • don’t let the zombies win
  • Reading Viewing:
    • Fast, Cheap and Out of Control We’ll arrange a screening outside of class time, if possible.

Week 5

  • catch your breath. By now we’ll have discussed a lot of technical material,and built a lot of things. This class is a chance to ask questions about any of what we’ve covered so far, and to make sure you’re clear on the concepts and the execution.
  • discuss final project. Discuss the brief, brainstorm possible ideas
  • Assignment: develop ideas for your final project.
  • Reading:

Week 6

  • Wireless Intro: 802.15.4 XBee and Bluetooth
  • Assignment due: Final project concept Presentations
  • Reading:
    • Reading: Making Things Talk chapter 7

Week 7

  • Wireless part 2. By now those working with wireless will have a lot of questions and we’ll talk about them in depth.
  • ZigBee, mesh networking/UDP
  • Assignment due: espionage assignment
  • Reading:

Week 8

  • Location vs. Identification
  • Assignment: start your final project.

Week 9

  • RFID and other technologies (TBD depending on class discussion)
  • Discuss final assignment interaction plans

Week 10

  • Assignment Due: By now you should have finished planning the interaction for your project and be working on a physical mockup.

Week 11

  • Workshop

Week 12

  • Workshop

Week 13

  • In-class final presentations

Week 14

  • Final presentations to New York Times R&D Staff

Reading & Discussion

There are two assigned books for this course:

You should also browse some of the projects that have come before in this area. A few projects you should know about:

Other recommended books and articles can be found on the bibliography page.

Participation & Attendance

Showing up on time, engaging in the class discussion, and offering advice and critique on other projects in the class are a major part of your grade. Please be present and prompt. Late attendance affects your grade adversely. If you’re going to be late or absent, please email me in advance. If you have an emergency, please let me know as soon as possible after the fact.
Please turn in assignments on time as well. Assignments turned in late will affect your grade adversely.


You will be expected to keep an online journal of your work on the class blog. Think of it as a letter to the next group to take this class: the tricks you found that work, the pitfalls you hit, ways around them, sources for materials, reference material, etc. Ideally, this will give you a head start on documenting your projects for future portfolio reference, and those who come after you a place to look for reference material.
A journal entry is part of the assignment for each project you do, at the least. Feel free to do more entries as you see fit.
Work on this as you go, don’t put it off until the end.
You should document your projects thoroughly. Plan in advance, and perhaps as a group, to have what you need to document at least your midterms and finals. Photos, video, drawings, schematics, and notes are all valuable forms of documentation.


Participation & Attendance: 30%
Early Assignments: 10% each (30% total)
Final: 20%
Documentation: 20%


Laptop use is fine if you are using your laptop to present in class, or if we’re in the middle of an exercise that makes use of it. Otherwise, however, please keep your laptop closed. The quality of the class depends in large part on the quality of your attention and active participation. In particular, give your fellow students the respect you deserve in return, and close your laptop and give them your full attention when they are presenting work.

Mobile Phones

Please put them on vibrate before you come to class unless they are part of your project.

Shop use

All people using the shop must attend a safety seminar once a year and take the safety quiz in order to use the shop. This is required by law. Sign up on the shop site, as each seminar is limited to 10 people at a time.
All shop users are expected to work two cleanup days per semester, and to help clean the shop when they use it. Details on shop policies can be found on the shop site. Please read them and ask us any questions you have.

Office/Lab Hours

Rather than office hours, I prefer to hold Lab Hours in the shop so that I’m available to help with projects as needed.

Lab Hours are currently scheduled to be Fridays 3 – 5 pm.

If you want to make an appointment at a different time, please contact me.

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