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Days: FRI Time: 12:30 pm - 4:10 pm Building: NSBLG Classroom: 1008
Instructor: Joe McKay joseph.mckay at
office located on first floor in the northeast corner of the building, 1007

Computers are slick beautiful machines, but what happens in the virtual world generally stays in the virtual world. This class is designed to bridge the gap between software and hardware - demystifying the space between the two. In this class we will introduce the arduino. The Arduino is an inexpensive microcontroller that has digital as well as analog inputs and outputs. It has a free programing environment for both mac and PC and plays well with Processing - which is also free.

This class requires quite a bit of programming. I will be providing a lot of sample code, but it is also necessary that you learn or already understand the basics of Processing if you do not have it already.

Class time will be divided between

This class will divide into three sections. Open Source Class
Processing is an "open Source" program - meaning it is free to use and distribute. The arduino is sometimes referred to as "Open Source Hardware" - of course it's not free, but it's way cheaper than most micro controllers. In this spirit, our class will be "Open Source" as well. In your research you will learn some cool stuff. it's on you to share that cool stuff with the rest of us, and in return we will do the same with you.

Also, you will be expected to be self directed. This means there will be a lot of class time during which you need to be working on your individual projects. "Working" means no Facebook, no twiiter, no texting, no pict-o-whatevering you kids are into.

A working understanding of Processing - or similar programing experience is a must.
A willingness to participate and share ideas.
A healthy fear and respect of electricity.

Each week we are going to be learning and doing quite a bit. Attendance is a must - please don't miss a class unless you really have to.
More than 2 absences is going to dramatically effect your grade. 4 absences is an F.

You DO need to come on time.

Each student will do a short presentation of an artist or maker that is doing something interesting. These presentations will be no longer than 10 - 15 minutes each, and begin in the second half of the semester.


Equipment and the room
There will be some projects that may require you to buy / salvage your own materials. We will be talking about how to repurpose electronics in class. We have Arduinos for everyone, but when the class ends we will need them back, so if you want to get one to call your own I suggest you do - they cost about 30 bucks.

We share this room with physics, and we need to be respectful of their space and equipment. Do not move stuff around (especially if they have experimental equipment set up), and keep to our side of the classroom.

I really like this book by Daniel Shiffman