Physical Computing Fun

Several years ago I found out about Arduinos and all of the amazing things you can do, relatively easily, with them and other microcontrollers, and the whole ecosystem built up around them. It is all geared specifically towards students, young people, and people like me who are interested, have ideas, but aren’t trained electrical engineers or computer coders.

I’ve been able to write very basic (and bad) computer code since I was a little kid, and I’ve written programs that actually do something real – on computers. I created a database application for a real estate company, I’ve coded websites from scratch HTML, wrote a payroll calculation program for mom ages ago, stuff like that. But it was all just software, and it “only” made a computer do something on the screen.

Once I found out about physical computing, and how accessible it could be, I was pretty excited. All of a sudden I can get input via a variety of sensors – temperature, humidity, light, fart gases, you name it – and do something with that information. Display it, log it, point at the culprit, even beam it through the air and over the internet to anywhere in the world.

My little introductory Arduino starter box has grown to several organizer boxes full of sensors, LEDs, microcontrollers of various types, servos, stepper motors, etc. Here are a few of the projects I’ve worked on. There are more that are in various stages of completion, and even more on paper or swirling around in my head!

(I need to flesh this out and explain more…some day!)

I wrote up a little bit more about one microcontroller project that I use for my photography work: my large format remote shutter.

Here were some of my very early forays into electronics hacking: a sound trigger for photography, nerdy Christmas presents.