Archive for Physical Computing

Analog Input

// September 29th, 2009 // No Comments » // Physical Computing

Creating a dimmer for an LED using a potentiometer. Here it is in action:

Wiring up an Arduino

// September 23rd, 2009 // No Comments » // Physical Computing

First lab for physical computing class. Wired up power to the Arduino and got it talking to the computer. First program is controlling two LEDs with a switch. Here’s a video of it in action:

Climate Control Jacket

// September 22nd, 2009 // No Comments » // Physical Computing

Climate Control Jacket

This week’s assignment for physical computing was to design a physical interface for an imaginary “fantasy” device that we’ve always wanted.  The device that I’ve mocked up here is a climate controlled jacket.  This idea has actually crossed my mind a number of times.  Practical issues aside, it would be a nice thing to have.

Imagine walking around in the middle of summer, getting strange looks as people wonder why you’re wearing a heavy jacket at this time of year.  Little do they know that you have a portable air conditioning system in there.  The idea is that there would be an option to turn on heat in the winter and cold in the summer.  The diagram above showing that you turn either one of the knobs on and continue further on to the right to increase the strength of each.

I tried to keep the controls as simple as possible, yet as I was making this decision, I decided to take a look at the interface on the air conditioning system we have in my apartment.  It was rather amusing to think of how some of these controls would port over to the jacket interface.  Most notably, how would “Energy Saver” or “Sleep” change the way the jacket functions.  Leaving me to think, how does the context of use change one’s perspective on simplicity versus complexity? I decided that I had made the right decision.

Physical Computing – Week 1

// September 15th, 2009 // No Comments » // Physical Computing

As an assignment for our first week of physical computing, we were asked to take a walk around our neighbourhood taking photos of sensors that we come across. As I am still new to the neighbourhood here, I was also happy to take the time to explore some areas I have yet had the chance to.

According to Wikipedia, “a sensor is a device that measures a physical quantity and converts it into a signal which can be read by an observer or by an instrument“. These devices serve a diverse range of purposes, from simple to complex or reactive to interactive. Many of them manage to blur these boundaries without notice as they have integrated into our daily lives in such a ubiquitous fashion.


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