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What is "Physical Computing"?

The short verion: It's using a computer to interact physically with your environment. In this series of chapters I will demonstrate how to design DIY peripherals controlled through General Purpose Input Output (GPIO) pins.
If you understood in detail how Physical Computing works, it is a relatively easy job to connect your homebuild devices or sensors to the Internet by what you can create your own Internet Of Things. Whenever the thing you connected to the Internet can be used for manufacturing, the term Industrie 4.0 is used in Germany. Call it what ever you'd like to; if you know how to do "Physical Computing", you'll understand the machines around you in more detail and you can start creating the future of technology instead of doing nothing but "consuming" new gadgets for old sheeps...


My preferred computing devices are the single board computer Raspberry Pi and most of the time a microcontroller is best, I am using an Arduino Uno. Both devices are supported by a large community, thus there is great software available and you get help in countless forums, blogs and meetings all over the world.
Besides the computing units, I will use a variety of hardware, demonstrating how to connect your DIY peripherals to GPIOs and of course how to write the software that controls your things. I will start with a blinking LED. The simplest kind of sensor is a switch that can be made of nothing but two wires. How to boost the weak signals of the GPIOs needs more than one chapter to explain - I will talk about transistors, relays, H bridges, operationhal amlifiers and more...
Starter kits are a good point to start, however there is more hardweare involved in the projects of my series - I will list the components needed in each chapter. I enjoy reusing old parts as I did with my CNC v0.6 or my Plotter composed of old optical drives. Borken printers or scanners are great sources for motors, switches or optical sensors.

Mikrocontroller Starterkit
Figure 1:
Disassembled printers with lots of parts useful for new projects.

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