Physical Computing: Robotics, 3D Printing, Arduino

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Summer 2017 quarter (Second Session)

Taught by

Physical computing is computing that interacts with the physical world.  We will explore this in multiple forms, emphasizing the interconnections among 3D printing, robotics, interactivity, and microcontrollers.  This program can be an introduction to programming, integrating the arts, engineering and computing.

For Robotics, we will explore programming, image processing, and AI.  One robot we will use is the Scribbler by Parallax. Students will work on projects in groups, and will learn the fundamentals of programming in Python to develop an understanding of the object-oriented programming paradigm, program design, and problem solving. This is ideal for students who have programmed in another language.

We will explore solid modeling techniques for 3D printing, using online apps and parametric tools to design for the particular constraints of desktop 3D printers. We'll focus on making parts that interconnect, integrate electronic devices, or enhance robotics projects. Students can also integrate thrift store finds using 3D printed interconnections.  

Students will also learn how to program and connect Arduino microcontrollers, connecting programming with sensors, motors and displays, e.g., to build interactive devices. Students will develop final projects that use the systems above, with the option to explore other areas such as the Raspberry Pi computer or wireless mobile devices.

Program Details

Fields of Study

computer science media arts

Preparatory For

Computing, Robotics, Interactive & Electronic Arts


Summer Open

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

Mon-Thu, 10 am - 3 pm

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning