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Shawn Decker

Moving and Shaking the World: Physical Computing for Artists

Course Description
Physical computing emphasizes writing computer code for small computers (think palm of your hand) that interface directly to the “physical” world (hence the name). The open-source arduino board project, along with a host of inexpensive DIY kits and parts for hooking these boards up to a vast number of things, has helped open up the world of physical computing to artists, musicians, and others. This class is designed to teach the beginner the fundamentals of activating physical objects using an arduino board connected to speakers, motors, LED lights, simple sensors, switches, etc. to create simple artworks that are activated in some way. Participants in the class will learn some basics of electricity, some simple wiring techniques, and some ideas about how motors, lights, switches, etc. work. Then we will explore some beginning ideas around writing computer programs that directly access these devices to create specific kinds of patterns, movement, interactions, etc. By the end of the class, each participant will complete a small activated sound/light/kinetic project.

Artist's Website

Supply List:
  • Some basic electronics tools (soldering iron, and a few hand-tools)
  • Several small objects that do something interesting when shaken, rotated, struck, rubbed, etc; this material will serve as a starting point for the participant’s project ideas Optional: a computer (Mac or PC) for programming [Note from Shawn: the studio will be equipped with laptops, but In many ways it is best for all participants to use their own laptops if they have them, as they then walk out the door with all this up & running.]