CCA Arduino Robotics, Summer 2013

SCIMA-200 Arduino Robotics
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 09:30AM – 12:30PM
Main SF Bldg, Room 107 (Hybrid Lab)

Michael’s email:
Class blog:
Class mailing list:

Week 1 Monday, June 03


  • Introduction
  • Demonstration
  • Arduino IDE


  • Solderless breadboard
  • Install Arduino on your laptop

Homework 1 due week 1 Wednesday, June 5

Week 1 Wednesday, June 05

  • Basic circuit theory, transistors, microcontrollers


  • Digital Read Serial
  • Analog Read Serial
  • Analog Out


  • Programming

Week 1 Thursday, June 06

  • Motors: brushed, stepper, servo
  • Transistors
  • Mechanisms (handout)


  • Motors: brushed, stepper, servo
  • mailing list

Homework 2 due week 2 Monday, June 10

  • Research robotic, electromechanical, or kinetic projects or devices. Here is an example I like. Reply to this page with links to 5 that you find interesting or inspiring. You will present these in class on Monday
  • Design some kind of moving mechanism to make next week. This isn’t necessarily part of your final project, but it can be.
  • Build a prototype using paper, cardboard, wood, or whatever you have. It doesn’t need to be entirely functional, I just want you to get some experience with mechanisms

Week 2 Monday, June 10

  • Presentations
  • Start Building

Homework 3 due week 2 Wednesday, June 12

  • Be prepared to make substantial progress on your project on Wednesday. Prepare by sketching and prototyping with whatever materials you have: paper, string, tape, cardboard, drinking straws.
  • If you need any materials we did not have in the lab, buy them before Wednesday. Use the resource list below. I have added links to the resource’s website.

Week 2 Wednesday, June 12

  • Review voltage, current
  • Resistance, Ohm’s law
  • Calculating LED resistor

Homework 4 due week 2 Thursday, June 13

Read this tutorial or watch this video on the LED current limiting resistor

Week 2 Thursday, June 13

  • Quiz voltage, current, conservation laws, Ohm’s law, calculating LED resistor
  • Review transistors
  • Stepper motors and ULN2003


Homework 5 due week 3 Monday, June 17

Read this tutorial AND watch this video on using opto-isolators

Week 3 Monday, June 17

  • Quiz voltage, current, conservation laws, Ohm’s law, calculating LED resistor
  • Review transistors, ULN2003
  • Transistors and other voltages
  • Isolation
  • Opto-isolators

Homework 6 due week 3 Wednesday, June 19

Week 3 Wednesday, June 19

  • (Review voltage, current, Ohm’s law, calculating LED resistor, series voltages, parallel current)
  • (Equivalent resistance)
  • Using the multimeter
  • Safety
  • Robotic topics?
    • Distance measuring sensors

Homework 7 due week 3 Thursday, June 20

  •  Suggest at least 3 topics which you would like to learn about in our remaining time. You may need to explore projects, installations, sculptures, and other creations in order to identify concepts you are interested in learning. Some examples:
    • Rotary encoder
    • Distance measuring sensor
    • SPI and I2C (also called Wire)
    • Making things happen at regular intervals without using delay (BlinkWithoutDelay)
    • Digital compass

Week 3 Thursday, June 20

  • Review resistors in series and parallel with Guilherme and Sam

Homework 8 due week 4 Monday, June 24

Homework 9 due week 4 Wednesday, June 26

  • Study the Array tutorial. Note that the example is also
    available in your Arduino examples. We will discuss this in class on Wednesday

Week 4 Wednesday, June 26


  • Review
    • Review Processing tutorials
    • What are the 4 parameters to ellipse()?
    • What does fill() do?
    • What do mouseX and mouseY do? What are they?
    • What do line() and stroke() do? How many different ways can you specify a color?
    • How can you erase things drawn as you move the mouse?
    • Is mousePressed a function or a variable?
    • Why use width and height?
  • Intermediate programming concepts
    • Review if() … else, for()
    • while()
    • Function return values
    • Arrays
  • Sensors

Homework 10 due week 4 Thursday, June 27

  • Modify the simple alien head from the  Coordinate System and Shapes processing tutorial. Add pupils, and have them follow the mouse, but stay in side the head.

Week 4 Thursday, June 27


  • Homework
  • If() for()


  • Boolean logic and !, &&, ||
  • Blink without delay


  • Arch: Art supply store. Easy walking distance.
  • Center Hardware: Hardware store. Easy walking distance.
  • Tap Plastics: All sorts of plastics, resins, and mold making supplies and tools. Laser cutting service.
  • Instructions on how to make or do almost anything
  • Techshop: Giant workshop with wood and metal working tools, 3D printers, laser cutters, etc. etc. Gym-like membership.


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4 thoughts on “CCA Arduino Robotics, Summer 2013

  1. Theo Jansen’s wind-powered Kinetic “Monsters”
    Link to his TED talk here:

    California-based “Kinetic Sculpture Race” showcases artists and engineers creativity as human powered vehicles traverse land, sea and swamp:

    Lighting Artist Ingo Maurer’s promotional video for his 2008 Cooper-Hewitt exhibition which included Responsive LED wallpaper, LED message wedding tux and dress, and animatronic portraits that “talked” to the audience and each other:
    Hear the artist talk about his installation “Ablaze” and see more shots of his work here:

    Two companies maximizing on the possibilities of 3-D printing:
    MIT Grads and Jewelry Designers, Nervous System use parametric designs to allow customers to customize their pieces:

    Dutch Fashion Designer Iris Van Herpen creates garments using laser cutting and 3-D printing to create “body sculpture”:
    Link to her Spring 2013 presentation video:

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