MIT Workshop: Physical Computing, Prototyping, Cities, and Selves

MIT Workshop: Physical Computing, Prototyping, Cities, and Selves: A Day-long Hackathon
When: Monday, Jan 11, 10AM-4PM.
Where: Room 9-451 (Map)

Please bring
– A laptop
– Your favorite microcontroller module (ie an Arduino) + a cable to connect it to your laptop
– Optional: your smartphone + a cable to connect it to your laptop (for BLE development)

Also, before Monday, try to install all the software related to your hardware (ie Arduino IDE, Xcode, etc). I’ll provide a few dozen sensors for you to try. I also have a few BLE boards if you want to try connecting your module to your phone.


Rough Agenda:

  • 10:00: Intros
    • Your name and department (if applicable)
    • Your experience with physical computing
    • What you want to do today
  • 10:30: Overview Presentation
  • 11:00: Overview of Tools (roundtable discussion & experimentation). I’ll briefly discuss the tools I’m bringing and providing tech support for: Arduino, various sensors, and iOS. If you are bringing other tools and want to share your knowledge of how to use them, I welcome you to do so at this time.
  • 12:00: Experiment with your tools. Connect a sensor to collect data!
  • 01:00: Check-in. Put together a sketch or slide on how your module would provide insight for cities and/or selves.
  • 02:00: Check-in. Wrap-up your experiment.
  • 02:30: Presentations, Refreshments, Group Vote, (small) Prizes
  • 03:30: Deconstruct your modules, return borrowed tools, and provide feedback.
  • 04:00: End of Session


Notes from the Session

  • Participants (in abc order): Arlene Ducao, David Hsu, Colleen Kaman, Chris Willard, Francesco Wiedeman, and You Wu.
  • First activity: Setting up the Arduino with an analog sensor (potentiometer) and LED.
  • You Wu introduced the board he currently uses for prototyping:’s Photon.
  • Sensor experiments: tilt sensor, pulse sensor, DHT22 temperature sensor, Adafruit GPS logger shield. I need to do some maintenance on the logger shield materials–they weren’t working properly.
  • Chris also set up his Raspberry Pi as an audio module.
  • Since our group was small, a “hackathon” didn’t make much sense. Working together was more fun and interesting.