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Physical Computing Paperback – 28 May 2004

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Course Technology PTR; First Printing edition (28 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159200346X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592003464
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 660,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Introduction PART I - The Basics Chapter 1: Electricity Chapter 2: Shopping Chapter 3: Building Circuits Chapter 4: The Microcontroller Chapter 5: Programming Chapter 6: The Big Four Schematics, Programs, and Transducers Chapter 7: Communicating between Computers PART II - Advanced Methods Chapter 8: Physical Interaction Design, or Techniques for Polite Conversation Chapter 9: Sensing Movement Chapter 10: Making Movement Chapter 11: Touch Me Chapter 12: More Communication between Devices Chapter 13: Controlling Sound and Light Chapter 14: Managing Multiple Inputs and Outputs Appendix A: Choosing a Microcontroller Appendix B: Recommended Suppliers Appendix C: Schematic Glossary

About the Author

Tom Igoe is a professor of physical computing at the Interactive Telecommunications Program in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He teaches courses in physical computing and networking, exploring ways to integrate the Internet more fully in everyday activity. Coming from a background in theater, his work centers on physical interaction related to live performance and public space. His consulting work and collaborations include work with orchestras, architects, dancers, musicians, and social activists. He hopes someday to work with monkeys, as well. Dan O'Sullivan is a professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. His work centers around the connection between virtual and physical spaces. On the virtual side he was the creator of QuicktimeVR as a member of the original Quicktime team at Apple Computer. He went on to developed such interactive enviroments as "Dan's Apartment," "YORB" and "Space of Faces." His physical installations range from musical instruments to carnival games to psychology experiements. Some of his work has found its way into art exhibitions in the United States and Europe. Dan lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought the book as I am doing some work with AVR processors and the Arduino system. However the book does not cover these. It is good for general principles and there are plenty of examples using PIC chips programmed in BASIC. Had I been looking for the latter I would have scored the book higher...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8eab56d8) out of 5 stars 36 reviews
43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e3d9f3c) out of 5 stars Good book on the fundamentals of physical computing 3 May 2007
By calvinnme - Published on
Format: Paperback
The primary purpose of this book is to show the reader how to get the computer to interact with the physical world through additional hardware and programming. Although the book seems to be aimed at artists wanting to use the computer in their work, the principles taught can be of use to non-artists too. This book is broken down into two parts. The first, "The Basics", covers all aspects of computing in a very general sense. It is just an overview, and if you are such a beginner that you really need to know about electricity, what a microcontroller is, and what an "if statement" is in programming, you are likely going to need sources other than just this book. The last chapter in the section, "Communicating Between Computers" is the best of the basic chapters. This chapter talks about actual connectors and their pins, testing, and protocols and codes. All code shown in this book is in several flavors of the BASIC language, and the book does a pretty good job of getting you started. The section ends with a discussion on the specifics of serial communication on a multimedia computer. Part one has the following chapters and subsections:

Part 1: The Basics

Chapter 1. Electricity

Transduction: Electrical Basics; Electricity versus Electronics How Electricity Flows;

Chapter 2. Shopping

Solderless Breadboard; Microcontrollers; Common Components; Wires; Power Supply; Power Connector; Voltage Regulator; RC Servomotor; Serial Connector; Serial Cable; Clock Crystals; Headers; Project Box; Cable Ties; USB-to-Serial Adaptor; Tools ;Shopping List Bringing It All Back Home;

Chapter 3. Building Circuits

Schematics; Connection Symbols; Power Symbols; Finding Schematics; Breadboards; Where Does the Microcontroller Fit In?; Translating Schematics into Circuits; Using a Multimeter; Soldering; Powering the Breadboard; Be Neat;

Chapter 4. The Microcontroller

"Hello World!" Is the Hard Part; Where Does the Microcontroller Fit In?; Routing Inputs to Outputs; Identifying the Pins of the Microcontroller; Lower-Level Microcontrollers: External Clock; Your First Microcontroller-Based Circuit; Getting Your Program to the Chip; Programming Stamp-Like Modules; Programming Lower-Level Chips ;Debugging;

Chapter 5. Programming

The Good News; Flow Control: How a Computer "Reads" a Program; Loops; If Statements; Variables; Built-In Routines: Subroutines and Functions; Homemade Routines; Advanced Loops: While-Wend and For-Next; Pseudocode; Comments; Debugging; Good Debugging Habits; The Bad News;

Chapter 6. The "Big Four" Schematics, Programs, and Transducers

Digital Input; Digital Output; Analog Output; From Analog in to Analog Out: Scaling Functions; Conclusion;

Chapter 7. Communicating between Computers

Physical Agreement; Timing Agreement; Electrical Agreement; Package Size; Numbers or Letters: Using ASCII; Software for the Microcontroller; Serial Output from a Microcontroller; Testing with an LED; Testing with Terminal Software; Serial Input to a Microcontroller; Serial Freeze and Blocking Functions; Your Private Protocol; Sending Bigger Numbers; Serial Communication on a Multimedia Computer; Conclusion;

In part two, the book demonstrates more advanced methods for accomplishing specific tasks. Most of these methods in part two are just special cases of the basic ideas in part one, and the book makes frequent reference to the circuits and code discussed in part one. There's really nothing here in the realm of specific projects. The book mainly talks about all of the various aspects of hardware and programming that are needed to interface a computer to the physical world. There is quite a bit of code and building-block circuitry shown for simple tasks that you can reuse in any larger project you decide to build.

Chapter 8. Physical Interaction Design, or Techniques for Polite Conversation

The Conversation: Listening, Speaking, and Thinking; Complex Responses; Techniques for Effective Interaction; Conclusion;

Chapter 9. Sensing Movement

Assessing the Problem; How Ranging Sensors Work; Detecting Presence; Determining Position ;Determining Rotation; Speed of Rotation; Video Tracking; Identity;Conclusion;

Chapter 10. Making Movement

Types of Motion, Types of Motors; Characteristics of Motors; Special Electrical Needs of Motors; Controlling Motors; Controlling Stepper Motors; Controlling Solenoids; Basic Mechanics: Converting Motor Motion to Usable Motion; Construction; Conclusion;

Chapter 11. Touch Me

Force-Sensitive Resistors; Flex Sensors; Pressure Sensors; Sensing Touch Using Capacitance Sensors; Off-the-Shelf Touch Interfaces; Sensing Vibrations Using Piezoelectric Sensors; Creating Vibrations; Taking Your Temperature; Cooling Things Off and Heating Them Up; Getting Under Your Skin; Force Feedback; Conclusion;

Chapter 12. More Communication between Devices

Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication; Asynchronous Serial Protocols; Learning a Protocol; RS-232 Boxes; Global Positioning System Data; MIDI; Connecting to the Internet; Connecting over Telephone Lines Using Modems; Special-Function ICs and Modules; Synchronous Serial Protocols; Wireless Serial Communication; Infrared Serial Communication; RF Serial Communication; Conclusion;

Chapter 13. Controlling Sound and Light

Sound; Light; Screen Graphics; Linear Media on a Multimedia Computer; Linear Media on a Microcontroller; Single-Board Computers; Conclusion;

Chapter 14. Managing Multiple Inputs and Outputs

Setting Groups of Pins in Parallel; Bitwise Operations; Running Out of Pins; Resistor Ladders as Analog Input; Row-Column Scanning; Shift Registers; Multiplexers; Latches; Conclusion;

I would say this is a good first book for anyone who is thinking about getting started with adding physical interfaces to their computer.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e3d9ee8) out of 5 stars This perfect book gives you skills, knowledge and know-how 24 Jan. 2005
By H. Cohen - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a perfect book. It teaches you, step-by-step with theory, code, examples and illustration, how to design and build your own microcontroller-based electronics projects. You can go from knowing nothing to being a relatively skilled amateur in just days. Futhermore, the book is amazingly comprehensive and covers so many complementary topics in addition to microcontrollers. This superb book answered almost every question (albeit basic) I ever had about electronics. Igoe and Sullivan, please write another book!!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e7fa2f4) out of 5 stars Finally! 14 Aug. 2004
By Lili Cheng - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a great overview of physical computing.. good for novices who aren't very technical, as well as for those who are more advanced.. basically the best ref out there for getting an overview of how to start building objects that you can interact with.. My background is in design-not computer science. I'd recommend for any designers, architects, filmmakers, etc. who interested in thinking about how to building and designing interactive installations or objects without need to know how to program. Great also for those with CS background, but this book is rare as it's written to span people with diffent degress of technical expertise... and one of the only references for people who aren't just geeks.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e7b21f8) out of 5 stars Excellent intro to circuits and microcontrollers 6 Aug. 2006
By R. de Villiers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book really is brilliant for someone wanting to get into programming circuits. I am coming from a computer programming background and wanted to make the move to physical computing. This book goes through every possible aspect and even gives the shopping list and possible stores for the items needed in the excercises. Even if you have no prior electronics or programming experience this book is the ticket.

Something to consider is the fact that the programming samples are all in the Basic language. If you want to learn to program microcontrollers in assembly then this book does not cover that.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8eaa2b34) out of 5 stars Great book for those interested in Physical Computing 30 Jun. 2004
By Jody C. - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is terrific, it could be used by a total novice in the field of electronics, and it can also serve as an excellent reference for advanced users. It explains basic principles extremely well and also gives many specific examples, including code for microcontrollers in several different programming languages. Well illustrated, with lots of strategies for designing projects as well as invaluable technical information, this is a great resource.
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