Electronics & Open Design
What is the knowledge of a maker and how does one share it? What is the importance and relevance of knowing how stuff is made and what it is made of? Why do people advocate a right of being able to hack and tinker with electronics and designs? How do certain design and engineering practices, such as standardization and packaging enable or foreclose that? Is there a downside to all of this?
What do programmable microcontrollers have to offer the investigative maker? Sensors can be used to capture light, sound, movement, distance, pressure, touch and more, while actuators allow you to make things move, talk, illuminate or heat up. To make the most of these interesting components we need to learn a few things about physics and coding.
On Monday Afternoon, Kaj and Wouter will run you through the basic laws of electronics and circuitry, such as the relationship between voltage (measured in Voltage), current (measured in Ampères) and resistance (measured in Ohms), and experience them yourselves. On Tuesday, you will learn what a microcontroller is and how to read a sensor and control an actuator by writing code using the Arduino platform.
Thackara, J. (2011) “Into The Open” in: Open Design Now! Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive. Bis Publishers: p. 42-45.
“Planned obsolescence: Why things don't last” (2017) The European Parliament on Youtube.
Jalopy, M., Torrone, P. and Hill, S. (2005) “Makers’ Bill of Rights”. Make Magazine. O’Reilly Media.
Class Component Sprint
In pairs, you will spend Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday to get at least two (but rather more) new components working and document and share successful code, links and circuitry; please see the documentation details below. You are very much encouraged to find, use and share online resources for this assignment.
On Friday, each team will test the documented components of (at least) one other team (decide beforehand, no doubles), using only their documentation as their guide. On your own documentation page, use at least 100 words to describe how each test went and share suggestions or mistakes with the other team so they can repair or improve their documentation. During Interface week (coming up next) we will use sensor values to make data visualizations using the Processing platform.
Friday 10:00 (? see Slack) bonus lecture by Wouter: Up your skills with next level electronics!
Documentation deadline and details:
You have until Friday 10 AM to document the working circuits, components and codes on your personal Hotglue page and share a link to the URL on the electronics Slack channel. The teachers will gather the urls on this page, to make them available for use later on. Make sure the results of your peer-component tests are on your page by next Monday 09:30, and that you have repaired/improved your code if needed.
For each component your researched, include in your documentation:
- Name and image of component
- Is it a sensor or an actuator?
- Datasheet and link to a supplier
- Links to libraries needed
- (Fritzing) schematic of the working circuit
- Links to tutorials used
- Working, annotated Arduino code for this component
- GIFs of the working components and output in serial monitor
- Common use case as well as less common use case that especially interests you
- Problems encountered, solutions found