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Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers [Paperback]

Dan O'Sullivan , Tom Igoe
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 28, 2004 159200346X 978-1592003464 1st
Physical computing is all around us-from interactive displays at museums to "puff sensors" that aid the physically challenged. With a multiple book buying audience, this book doesn't require a specific background or technical experience. It is designed to help make a more interesting connection between the physical world and the computer world. The audience size is comparable to that of the Robot builder market. In addition to this audience, physical computing is also taught at several universities across the US. This book is a great source of information and knowledge for anyone interested in bridging the gap between the physical and the virtual.

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Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers + Making Things Talk: Using Sensors, Networks, and Arduino to see, hear, and feel your world + Arduino Cookbook
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Editorial Reviews


Introduction PART I - The Basics Chapter 1: Electricity Chapter 2: Shopping Chapter 3: Building Circuits Chapter 4: The Microcontroller Chapter 5: Programming Chapter 6: The Big Four Schematics, Programs, and Transducers Chapter 7: Communicating between Computers PART II - Advanced Methods Chapter 8: Physical Interaction Design, or Techniques for Polite Conversation Chapter 9: Sensing Movement Chapter 10: Making Movement Chapter 11: Touch Me Chapter 12: More Communication between Devices Chapter 13: Controlling Sound and Light Chapter 14: Managing Multiple Inputs and Outputs Appendix A: Choosing a Microcontroller Appendix B: Recommended Suppliers Appendix C: Schematic Glossary

About the Author

Tom Igoe is a professor of physical computing at the Interactive Telecommunications Program in the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He teaches courses in physical computing and networking, exploring ways to integrate the Internet more fully in everyday activity. Coming from a background in theater, his work centers on physical interaction related to live performance and public space. His consulting work and collaborations include work with orchestras, architects, dancers, musicians, and social activists. He hopes someday to work with monkeys, as well.

Dan O'Sullivan is a professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University. His work centers around the connection between virtual and physical spaces. On the virtual side he was the creator of QuicktimeVR as a member of the original Quicktime team at Apple Computer. He went on to developed such interactive enviroments as "Dan's Apartment," "YORB" and "Space of Faces." His physical installations range from musical instruments to carnival games to psychology experiements. Some of his work has found its way into art exhibitions in the United States and Europe. Dan lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Thomson; 1st edition (May 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159200346X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592003464
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
The primary purpose of this book is to show the reader how to get the computer to interact with the physical world through additional hardware and programming. Although the book seems to be aimed at artists wanting to use the computer in their work, the principles taught can be of use to non-artists too. This book is broken down into two parts. The first, "The Basics", covers all aspects of computing in a very general sense. It is just an overview, and if you are such a beginner that you really need to know about electricity, what a microcontroller is, and what an "if statement" is in programming, you are likely going to need sources other than just this book. The last chapter in the section, "Communicating Between Computers" is the best of the basic chapters. This chapter talks about actual connectors and their pins, testing, and protocols and codes. All code shown in this book is in several flavors of the BASIC language, and the book does a pretty good job of getting you started. The section ends with a discussion on the specifics of serial communication on a multimedia computer. Part one has the following chapters and subsections:

Part 1: The Basics

Chapter 1. Electricity

Transduction: Electrical Basics; Electricity versus Electronics How Electricity Flows;

Chapter 2. Shopping

Solderless Breadboard; Microcontrollers; Common Components; Wires; Power Supply; Power Connector; Voltage Regulator; RC Servomotor; Serial Connector; Serial Cable; Clock Crystals; Headers; Project Box; Cable Ties; USB-to-Serial Adaptor; Tools ;Shopping List Bringing It All Back Home;

Chapter 3. Building Circuits

Schematics; Connection Symbols; Power Symbols; Finding Schematics; Breadboards; Where Does the Microcontroller Fit In?
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This is a perfect book. It teaches you, step-by-step with theory, code, examples and illustration, how to design and build your own microcontroller-based electronics projects. You can go from knowing nothing to being a relatively skilled amateur in just days. Futhermore, the book is amazingly comprehensive and covers so many complementary topics in addition to microcontrollers. This superb book answered almost every question (albeit basic) I ever had about electronics. Igoe and Sullivan, please write another book!!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! August 13, 2004
This is a great overview of physical computing.. good for novices who aren't very technical, as well as for those who are more advanced.. basically the best ref out there for getting an overview of how to start building objects that you can interact with.. My background is in design-not computer science. I'd recommend for any designers, architects, filmmakers, etc. who interested in thinking about how to building and designing interactive installations or objects without need to know how to program. Great also for those with CS background, but this book is rare as it's written to span people with diffent degress of technical expertise... and one of the only references for people who aren't just geeks.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent intro to circuits and microcontrollers August 6, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book really is brilliant for someone wanting to get into programming circuits. I am coming from a computer programming background and wanted to make the move to physical computing. This book goes through every possible aspect and even gives the shopping list and possible stores for the items needed in the excercises. Even if you have no prior electronics or programming experience this book is the ticket.

Something to consider is the fact that the programming samples are all in the Basic language. If you want to learn to program microcontrollers in assembly then this book does not cover that.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Jody C.
This book is terrific, it could be used by a total novice in the field of electronics, and it can also serve as an excellent reference for advanced users. It explains basic principles extremely well and also gives many specific examples, including code for microcontrollers in several different programming languages. Well illustrated, with lots of strategies for designing projects as well as invaluable technical information, this is a great resource.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars These guys know Physical Computing June 16, 2004
As a student at the NYU ITP program, I can personally attest to Tom and Dan's amazing knowledge. The physical computing program here is something that everyone can get a lot out of - even people with little programming or electronics experience are building interesting robotics and cutting edge projects.
I am an intermediate programmer/electronics person and I feel I have progressed to the point where I am building computer peripherals. It has opened up so many windows of opportunity for me.
Thanks Dan and Tom!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tons of practical information March 21, 2006
Great boek - very practical - general approach of connecting any device to a computer.

This book helped me very much in understanding and building the interaction between the pc and selfbuild electronic devices and sensors. It explanes the basics of programming, standard solutions, electronics, protocols. For me it was the ideal practical bridge between all my chaotic knowledge of techniques, standaards, practical make it coherent.

Because it aproaches the microprocessor from high level to low level, (plug and play packages versus the naked chip and resistors) and 4 different pic-manufactures it realy offers the basics an clarifies the direction where to look for your specific specialisation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars best of it's kind I've read
25 years as embedded systems programmer and this is the best of it's kind I've read. Covers all you need to get started in this area.
Published 3 months ago by Rusty Shackleford
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
I have skimmed through the book a few times and have added it to my list of books to read.
Published 6 months ago by Mark1968
5.0 out of 5 stars Physical Computing
This book has some great examples in it for the beginner and intermediate project builder. A great reference book to have on the shelf.
Published 7 months ago by James E. Mikkalson
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but limited
Interesting introduction about physical computing, but a very limited one. Similar to the 'getting started with arduino', they only give some very basic explanations about the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by fmcf
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Roadmap into Computing and the Physical World
I've been a software engineer for 15 years, and was always interested but intimidated by the physical aspect of computing [circuits, chips, sensors, etc]. Read more
Published on March 24, 2011 by Jason E. Wayne
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Using Microcontrollers to Interact with the real...
I bought an Arduino.
I went online and investigated how to use it through tutorials.
I learned about author Tom Igoe through some online videos and was fascinated by what... Read more
Published on December 12, 2009 by Karl Kelley
5.0 out of 5 stars Computing in Microcontrollers
Though, I haven't finish reading this book yet, explains everything from basic electronics to microcontroller based projects. Read more
Published on October 16, 2009 by YY Thirunavukkaras
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent scope, flawed in some details
Overall the book does an excellent job covering a wide range of logically-organized material. This ranges from getting information into a microcontroller (reading a sensor or... Read more
Published on June 28, 2009 by D. M. Lorenzetti
5.0 out of 5 stars Good begginner book
I really enjoyed this book. It was clearly written and progressed at a pace that could take a beginner to a novice in a short time. Read more
Published on September 17, 2008 by Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Marcos Chilet........diseñar conductas.
Este libro es una muy buena introducción a los principios de la electrónica aplicados a microcontroladores. Read more
Published on March 28, 2008 by R. amayo
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