Introduction to Physical Computing

Tom Igoe

This course expands the students’ palette for physical interaction design with computational media. We look away from the limitations of the m ouse, keyboard and monitor interface of today’s computers, and start instead with the expressive capabilities of the human body. We consider uses of the computer for more than just information retrieval and processing, and at locations other than the home or the office. The platform for the class is a microcontroller, a single - chip computer that can fit in your hand. The core technical concepts include digital, analog and serial input and output. Core interaction design concepts include user observation, af fordances, and converting physical action into digital information. Students have weekly lab exercises to build skills with the microcontroller and related tools, and longer assignments in which they apply the principles from weekly labs in creative applic ations. Both individual w ork and group work is required.