Physical Computing: Art, Robotics, and Tech for Good
Fast, cheap computing is making it possible for absolute beginners to build real and impactful projects as they learn to program in Python. Physical Computing: Art, Robotics, and Tech for Good is an interdisciplinary course offered in the flipped-class model. Students learn CircuitPython - an extension to the Python Programming language allowing them to work with a variety of hardware products. During the semester students are lent small computing devices (these can also be purchased): Adafruit CircuitPlayground Bluefruit, Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect, and Raspberry Pi 3 A+, along with several additional components (LED light strips, sensors, motors, robotics parts), and build a series of projects: an "Art" challenge, a "smart" box that lights up when it's time to take medication, a PPE mask-distributing, announcement-making, app-controlled robot. Students also work with Boston College Campus School, a program for children ages 3-21 with physical and development challenges, creating Assistive Technology projects to improve their lives. Students gain skills useful in project management, working with a client, technology software and hardware, and apply this knowledge as People for Others.