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In this course we will learn the basics of responsive environments at varying scales, from personal to architectural. This will involve learning a little about electronics, about computers, and about humans. In the end, the aim is to provide you with knowledge and skills so you can begin to design with these tools in mind, or have an intelligent conversation about the future of digital tech in the built environment.

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more

Laptop and desktop computers include sensors. The obvious ones are keyboards, mice, trackpads, microphones, and webcams. There are also actuators, such as LCD displays and speakers. Less obvious sensors include accelerometers to sense if the device is dropped (and park the disk read/write heads), battery-level sensors, wi-fi and Bluetooth radios for communications, ethernet adaptors, fingerprint readers, etc.

Going Over the Rainbow

These sensors can be an important part of a responsive environment. Vision is often part of high-end multi-user ubiquitous-computing systems. Wii-Remotes can be used in lieu of a mouse, or as an additional input device. Digital displays and rendering software make great photoreal images from screen pixels, and can be used to graph data over time. Great!! but we're going to steer away from them for most of this course. In a bit of a whirlwind of our own, we'll see how far over the rainbow or up the yellow-brick-road we can get.

The Future is a Big Place

In this course we will mostly focus on "non-traditional" input and output mechanisms, and on logic as more than mechanism, as a means of breaking free of constraints. There are many "traditional" ways to sense and respond. Let's do non-traditional! We will have to think creatively, and learn to express ourselves clearly using code, hardware, and the environment. Our experiments are necessarily ephemeral and incomplete, but they can be fun and revealing, and presage an interesting future.