physical computing – Learning how to learn and Labs 2 and 3

Arduino, Force Sensor Resistors and LED’s

For the past few weeks, I’ve been struggling to learn Pcomp. I feel that the ability to mix coding with electronics is something that takes a lot of time to assimilate, considering that both are quite new universes for me.

Hence, I started to create new learning strategies to find ways to study on my own and organize information. First, I created a new workflow using the app Notion, which allows me to put together and link in a very visual and accessible way all the resources that I need to quickly access when studying for Pcomp. Secondly, I mapped places where I can find the information I need when doing exercises, for example, the books “Learn Electronics with Arduino: An Illustrated Beginner’s Guide to Physical Computing” and “Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers“, and also the page of the class itself, and the Arduino website. Thirdly, I decided to focus on doing all the labs from the Syllabus instead of trying to be creative or making up applications for the circuits that I’m learning to build. I also printed a lot of things that I need to memorize, such as Arduino’s functions and basic rules for electronics and stuck to the wall of my bedroom, so I can always look at it.

This week I focused on Labs 2 and 3. Lab 2 was about Digital Input, so it purposes using a button to change how LED’s behave. The lab went well, I just don’t understand exactly why do I need a Pulldown resistor to create a button.

Lab 2 – Button and Led

Lab 3 was focused on Analog Input. First using a potentiometer to change the brightness of an LED and then changing the led for a speaker, in a way that the analog signal of the potentiometer changes the frequency of the sound.

Lab 3 – Using forcing sense resistors to change the brightness of LEDS

Last part of the lab was variating the brightness of two different LEDs in sequence according to the pressure applied to two different Force Sense Resistors. In general, I understand well how to prototype, but I feel I need to improve my skills creating and reading the codes and getting to know better how electricity behaves in relation with data and vice-versa.

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