Friday, March 11, 2011

Welcome to Arduino! PComp with Arduino Class 1

Hello everyone, I hope your day has been well and that you ate a big breakfast because we are going to have a lot of fun.

Names and Introductions

Just a quick introduction so we can find out your name and why you are interested in the class and what your experience with programming and circuits is.

What to expect form the class

Here is a brief look at the run down of the class:
Day 1
A definition of what Physical computing.
Information about the Arduino and why it is a great platform for physical computing.
Overview of the Arduino website.
How to install and run Arduino.
Overview of the kit.
What tools you need and where to get them.
Blink (lab)
Input & Output
Digital & Analog

Day 2
Comment (code)
Variables (code)
Program structure (code)
Functions (code)
Fading using timer (lab)
Where to find components

Day 3
Fade timing: modulo (lab)
Multiple LEDs: arrays and for loops (lab)
Potentiometer: serial output (lab)
Control LED with pot: mapping (lab)
Brightness sensor: thresholds and calibration(lab)
Button counter w/state change (lab)

Day 4
Handling alternative power sources
Smoothing sensor values
Projects (color mixer, chandelier)

What is Physical Computing?

Physical Computing, or Pcomp for short, refers to the practice of using a computer to interfacing with the natural physical world. The process can include receiving data from the natural world and/or creating an output outside of the computer that effects the world. We will learn how to use microcontrollers as an intermediary between the physical world and your computer.

Intro to Arduino, Welcome to the club

The Arduino is a wonderful prototyping platform for a number of reasons. The Arduino uses an open source hardware business model. What this means is that they give away for free exactly how to make their product and they also allow you to take those plans and make their product and sell it, I believe as long as you do the same. This breeds an environment where everyone shares and everyone succeeds together growing together as the collective knowledge grows. This means that there are tons of code lying around the web waiting for you to search for them and throw them onto your arduino, making simple work of simple projects. This also means that many people have designed add-ons to the original platform that interface easily and add a great deal of functionality. So welcome to the club, have fun and enjoy the life.

Intro to Arduino, Welcome to the club

There are many things you can do with the Arduino platform. Here are few of my favorites:
Botanicalls - allows plants to call their owners to tell them they need water or nutrients
SIMbaLink - smart solar harvesting
Intersects the Plane - robotic light sculpture

How to Install Arduino

The people at Arduino have put together a wonderful intro to the arduino for any of the major platforms. Check out the link and follow along to install get started when you get back to your house.

Arduino web resources

There are a ton of web resources available for the Arduino. Here are a few of my go to places to look for help:
The Arduino website includes an entire run down of the arduino language.
The website also includes a ton on how to get started including examples, foundations, and links to other resources.
Along with the code that comes with Arduino, you can use code people have created to work with Arduino. These are called libraries and they can be found here. Most libraries will have links to more information on how to use the code they provide.
While you might think that you have a unique idea, this is almost certainly not the case. Check the forums at Arduino (old forum) to see if anyone has already solved the problem you are trying to figure out.

What are our materials

Here is a run down of the parts in the kit:

  • 1 Arduino Uno

  • 1 breadboard

  • 1 USB cable (A to B)

  • 2 momentary(or biased) switches

  • 2 potentiometers

  • 1 photoresistor

  • 5 red LEDs

  • 3 superbrite LEDs

  • 5 100 ohm resistors

  • 5 1000 ohm resistors

  • 5 10000 ohm resistors

  • 1 bundle of jumper wires

  • Lets make something blink!

    For startes we are going to use the basic Arduino introduction sketch, the blinking LED. Now while this is a basic sketch, it is an amazing experience, I remember my first blinking LED well. Lets jump to the Arduino site to take a look at the sketch.

    The difference between input and output


    This is pretty simple, inputs are values and processes associated with things coming into the Arduino, while an output is a value that is sent out from the Arduino. Human inputs are our five senses and our outputs are using our body in any way to effect the outside world for example talking.

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