Beginners’ Guide to Arduino and Physical Computing


Title: Beginners’ Guide to Arduino and Physical Computing
Location: MadLab
Description: This course tells you everything you need to know about working with the Arduino platform, from software development and simple circuit building, to prototyping new controllers and building robotics.
Date: 24-11-2012
Start Time: 10:00
End Time: 17:30

Booking: Sign up here





Arduino devices open up the exciting new world of physical computing, making real-world applications available even for non-experts to explore. The possible uses of these micro-controllers are limitless – all you need to add is your imagination.

You’ll learn not only what you can achieve with Arduino boards, but also strategies for integrating them into larger projects, from installations to sensor networks.

And how could you use it? For functionality, for art… for making life more interesting.

Imagine a clock, with hands not telling the time, but where members of your family are by automatically sending back information about their movements. Imagine a bakery that can instantly send a tweet to its followers to tell them when their yummy baked goods are fresh out of the oven. Imagine a beautiful water-based display that spells out letters and numbers with bubbles.

Now imagine what you could do with it!

Real World Examples

Here are some of our favourite projects using the Arduino:

What you need to be familiar with

You’ll need to know how to use your computer, edit files, and save them.

Some programming background is useful, but not essential; if you’ve ever written Javascript, Pascal, C, C++, Java or Actionscript, you’ll find the Arduino programming language very familiar. If you’ve written Macros in Excel or any desktop software, you’ll find this will help you understand what’s happening.

Software and costs

'Beginners Arduino & Physical Computing' Omniversity course componentsThe fee of the course is £120. Included in this price is a hot buffet lunch, with vegetarian options (please notify us if you have other dietary requirements).

You will also receive an Arduino Uno, breadboard, holder, USB cable and parts bundle. Each parts bundle contains jumper wires, 2 pushbuttons, 2 potentiometers, resistors, 10 LEDs, and a photoresistor.

Additionally, you will receive an electronic copy of the teaching materials, software, and programmes we write on a USB stick.

All software is freely available and copies will be distributed with the course materials on the day.

We will be using the Arduino IDE, version 0021,  which can be downloaded from for all platforms.

We will also be using the Processing IDE, version 1.2.1, which can be downloaded from for all platforms.

Equipment you’ll need

You will need to bring a computer, ideally a laptop, with a recent version of  Linux, Windows or OSX installed. You will need a USB interface on this computer.

Suggested preparatory work

  • Install the Arduino IDE
  • Install the Processing IDE

Make sure both applications start and run properly on your computer – on some Linux distributions, you need to install extra software.

Familiarise yourself with the introduction to the Processing IDE (the Arduino IDE is based on it) at

Learning Outcomes

  • How to connect and configure Arduino Uno devices to a computer, and download programmes to it
  • How to use a breadboard to prototype circuits, and interact with components through software
  • What different kinds of components exist and how to use photoresistor, potentiometers, and LEDs
  • How to communicate with an Arduino using USB and Processing
  • How to expand your Arduino and where to find devices and support

Further information

Course syllabus for Beginners’ Guide to Arduino and Physical Computing

Special thanks

WordPress hosting company are sponsoring lunch and refreshments to the attendees of Beginners’ Guide to Arduino and Physical Computing.

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