Without a doubt, the technology we’ve been working with in introduction to physical computing is primitive at best relative to what we’re surrounded by in our everyday lives.
All the same, owing to the fact that we’ve not only been interacting with them, but programming, building, and manipulating their form and functionality at so many different levels, both digital and physical, this “primitive” technology has accumulated something that is almost entirely absent in our conscious relation to the powerful smartphones, laptops, and other devices we use on a daily basis. That thing is magic, or something like it.
In the Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment from Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940), Mickey Mouse saunters around a palace gesturing left and right to inanimate objects, inciting them to come to life or otherwise react in some animated manner.
Even though what we’ve been able to accomplish in class has been pretty rudimentary—our outputs, after all, have been tiny LEDs, 8-ohm speakers, and minuscule servo motors—much of our work has
Here is a gif of what’s happening in the p5 sketch as the head of the photoresistor is shaded by my hand.
Schematic of physical setup.