XD4003 - Physical Computing

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What will I learn on this module?

We need to design computing and interactive systems that go beyond the conventional PC or tablet. The world into which we live is physical and we are continuously moving around, handling objects and transforming it. These issues amongst many are at the origin of this module on Physical computing. It encourage you to design, programme, construct and demonstrate interactive prototypes. To do so, you will use sensors, actuators and control boards that you will assemble into a circuit of your design and you will then programme to deliver a function of your choice. You will use various sensors such as Light-Dependent Resistors, Pressure Gauges, Ultrasonic Sensors, Pressure Pad. As for actuators you will rely on servo-motors, speakers, buzzers and LED. For the control board you will use ARDUINO boards that you will connect to a PC. You will rely on the ARDUINO IDE to programming and debugging. You will learn to become familiar with translating designs into circuits and programmes; and translating interaction concepts into prototypes.

How will I learn on this module?

The module aims to give you skills in programming and electronics and to consolidate those that you may have. Weekly presentations will introduce you into the subject, with more specialism and depth as we progress through the module. Demonstrations will also be conducted at each step of progression of the module to introduce and illustrate key concepts of the modules such as components, circuits, control, programming, debugging. For each concepts introduced in the module you will be given a demonstration and then ask to develop some of your own. hands-on workshop of electronics and physical computing are at the core of this module. You will go through workshops about designing a prototype relying on sensors, actuators, a circuit of your design and a programme of your writing. You will start with simple prototypes that, as the module progresses, gain complexity and functions.
This module encourage you to get better at group work and at following a design process that involves conceptualisation, overall design, component selection, circuit design, circuit assembly, programming and debugging.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Developing your ability to think practically about physical computing and to be comfortable with a design brief about an interactive device are central to this module. In this regard, it will enable you to make informed decisions about conceptualising your device, designing it in terms of components, circuits and programme, building a demonstration prototype and conduct a demonstration. You are encouraged to go beyond the brief and propose a more complex or a more interactive device. Further skills and confidence in programming and debugging are also key achievements in this module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
Programming principles and skills
Acquire and develop knowledge on programming using a various programming techniques. Design and write, debug and run own programme with increased complexity throughout the module progress
Using an Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
Gain familiarity and experience with Arduino IDE, know how to search for existing and sample codes and circuits for a variety of purposes and outcomes.
Designing and building electronic circuits
Design, build, test and demonstrate a physical circuit including sensors, actuators, wiring and some user input(s)/output(s).
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
Go through a design, develop, demonstrate cycle with few iterations
Problem solving to achieve a workable prototype.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

How will I be assessed?

This module is a PASS or FAIL one, implying that you have to fulfill a set of requirements to pass. For this module the requirements to pass are that you deliver working prototypes of the following exercises-
1. Basic Arduino circuit including at least one LED or one Buzzer
2. Arduino circuit combining a sensor and an actuator
3. A circuit of your own design

The marking criteria are as follow
1. Individual circuits are your own and you can thoroughly explain their working as well as the code to control them
2. You have made a fair and measureable contribution to the group work
3. You can give a good explanation of the circuit and/or of the code written to control it
4. You have gained a good understanding of Physical Computing as measured by your contribution (e.g. verbal, workgroup, circuit ideas, code examples...) during the module sessions.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code W280

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria School of Design

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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