In this introductory course on electronics and physical computing for the arts, each participant will build an understanding of electricity, circuit design, mechanisms, sensors, actuators, micro-controller programming, custom interface design, and integrating electronics with software.
Working with electronics opens new ways to connect the virtual and physical—from ephemeral representations on screens and networks to bodies in space and time. Through workshops, readings, lectures, critiques, and discussions, we will reevaluate the role desktop computers (and their mice, trackpads, keyboards, screens, and gamepads) play in forming our understanding of what is technically possible, sensible, logical, foolish, magical, and intuitive.
Experimentation is required to gain familiarity with creating and planning computational works. This technical and conceptual exploration will involve class critiques, readings, and discussion.
You must attend class, participate in discussions, and complete all assignments.
Grading is based on the workshop exercises, and on active participation during the class meetings and reading discussions. The work is evaluated on how well it demonstrates an understanding of the material, its originality, as well as its conceptual and aesthetic qualities. Feedback will be primarily qualitative but letter grades will be given for all work.
Participation & Attendance
Punctuality, focus, articulation of concepts, and contribution to class discussions are all part of class participation.
If there is an emergency and you will be late or absent from the class, please email me.
- Charles Platt: Make: Electronics – Learning Through Discovery. O’Reilly Media, 2009.
- Dan O'Sullivan, Tom Igoe: Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers. Thomson, 2004.
(Available as PDF)
- Charles Platt: Arduino Cookbook – Recipes to Begin, Expand, and Enhance Your Projects. O’Reilly Media, 2011.
(Available on Safari Books Online)
- Charles Platt: Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Volume 1. O’Reilly Media, 2009.
(Available on Safari Books Online)
- Dustyn Roberts: Making Things Move. McGraw-Hill/TAB Electronics, 2010.
- Tero Karvinen, Kimmo Karvinen, Ville Valtokari: Make: Sensors. O’Reilly Media, 2014.
You need to get some type of microcontroller, the Adafruit Feather 32u4 Basic Proto is a good general purpose option. In addition you will need:
Commitment to Equity and Diversity
We understand the classroom as a space for practicing freedom; where one may challenge psychic, social, and cultural borders and create meaningful artistic expressions. To do so we must acknowledge and embrace the different identities and backgrounds we inhabit. This means that we will use preferred pronouns, respect self-identifications, and be mindful of special needs. Disagreement is encouraged and supported, however our differences affect our conceptualization and experience of reality, and it is extremely important to remember that certain gender, race, sex, and class identities are more privileged while others are undermined and marginalized. Consequently, this makes some people feel more protected or vulnerable during debates and discussions. A collaborative effort between the students, TA, and instructor is needed to create a supportive learning environment. While everyone should feel free to experiment creatively and conceptually, if a class member points out that something you have said or shared with the group is offensive, avoid being defensive; instead approach the discussion as a valuable opportunity for us to grow and learn from one another. Alternatively if you feel that something said in discussion or included in a piece of work is harmful, you are encouraged to speak with the instructor or TA. (via voidlab)
Students with Special Needs
Students with a disability or health-related issue who need a class accommodation should make an appointment to speak with the instructor as soon as possible. It is University policy that students with documented disabilities receive reasonable accommodations through access to classroom information. If you have a physical, psychological/psychiatric or medical condition, or a learning disability that will make it difficult for you to carry out the work outlined in the syllabus, or that will require additional time for taking exams and completing assignments, please notify your faculty for this class and visit the UCLA Center for Accessible Education in the first two weeks of the quarter so that we may make appropriate arrangements. All information and documentation is confidential.
The University of California, Los Angeles occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Tongva and Chumash peoples. Our ability to gather and learn here is the result of coercion, dispossession, and colonization. We are grateful for the land itself and the people that have stewarded it through generations. While a land acknowledgment is not enough, it is first step in the work toward supporting decolonial and indigenous movements for sovereignty and self-determination. Read more about what land you’re occupying.