CS201: Physical Computing, Bryn Mawr College

Douglas Blank
Fall 2012


Physical Computing is the study of the integration of computing (software and hardware) into the traditionally non-digital world. This often includes the use of an embedded, low-cost microcomputer with sensors and actuators (such as motors) to build an interface between the physical, analog world with the digital world. This course explores all levels of computing, from the low-level software and electronics, to the higher-level to application development and use of computing in society. Of special interest is that DIY technology that empowers individuals via creative physical computing devices and uses.

General Information

Instructor: Douglas Blank, 248 Park Science Building, 526-6501
Email: dblank (at) cs (dot) brynmawr (dot) edu
Web: cs.brynmawr.edu/~dblank
Office hours: Monday and Wednesday, 2pm - 3pm
Lectures: Tues and Thursdays 12:45pm - 2:15pm, room: Park Science 231
Lab: Park Science Building, room 231
Lab Assistants: None


We will use a variety of programs and hardware, including:

These are all available on the Computer Science Linux machines. You will get an account if you don't have one already.


Week Dates Topics Assignment
1 09/04/2012, 09/06/2012 Physical Computing Lab #1: Introduction to the Arduino
2 09/11/2012, 09/13/2012 Arduino Lab #2: Physical Computing on the Arduino
3 09/18/2012, 09/20/2012 Arduino Lab #3: Creativity and the Arduino
4 09/25/2012, 09/27/2012 Fluke Lab #4
5 10/02/2012, 10/04/2012 Dance and Technology Discussion, Hacktory Lab #5
6 10/09/2012, 10/11/2012 Project Descriptions and Parts List Lab #6
7 10/16/2012, 10/18/2012 NXT Work on Projects
8 10/23/2012, 10/25/2012 Presentations

Other dates of interest:


Final grades will be calculated as a weighted average of all grades according to the following weights:

Labs: 50%
Project: 50%
Gradebook: Moodle

dblank (at) cs (dot) brynmawr (dot) edu