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Hardware & Physical Computing


Admission Requirements

Bachelor degree (completed)


This course is about connecting computers to the physical world. We are all used to connecting ourselves to computers, for example via keyboard, mouse, monitor, and touch screen. However, many creative computing applications require a computer to connect to the physical world via other sensors (buttons, dials, thermometers, distance sensors, gps, pressure sensors, accelerometers, light sensors, …) and actuators (motors, steppermotors, servo’s, leds, lcd’s, electrical appliances, …). Typical application domains where computers sense and act in the physical world are robotics, tactile interaction, home automation, interactive installations, and experimental research equipment.

This course introduces physical computing and interfacing via the Arduino open-source hardware platform. Arduino’s are inexpensive and popular micro-controller boards. Students learn to build their own Arduino board, to connect sensors and actuators, to program the Arduino, and must then apply it in a creative computing project — they must build an interactive installation or robot. Read more about Arduino at

Course Objectives

To understand processors, sensors, and actuators. Having hands-on experience with building a small computer, programming an Arduino, interfacing physical devices, and using this in a physical installation.

Time Table

The dates are included in the Media Technology calendar

Mode of Instruction

Lectures, lab and self study

Assessment Method

Assigments, presentations, final project



Reading List

Study materials will be provided by the lecturer during the course


  • You have to sign up for courses and exams (including retakes) in uSis.

  • Please also register for the course in [Blackboard].

  • Due to limited capacity, non-Media Technology students (external and exchange) can only register after consultation with and approval of the programme coordinator/study advisor (


Barbara Visscher-van Grinsven, programme coordinator/study advisor for the Media Technology MSc programme (


Curriculum link