Most people think of their interactions with computer systems to occur via a keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen. However, humans evolved to interact with thier environment and each other in much more intricate ways. Bridging the gap between the computational systems of the digital world and the natural world is being studied and tested in the Physical Computing course at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany.
As a professor of the course, we are currently leveraging a variety of open source software and hardware projects to learn about fundamental core concepts with hands-on experiences and implementation of open source tools. On the software side, we use an open-source IDE (Arduino Sketch) and develop 3D printer designs using OpenSCAD. On the open source hardware portion of the course, we utilize the Arduinos and the PrintrBot Simple.