Physical Computing, Hackerspaces and why the DIY movement matters to Engineering

Wednesday, 9 March 2011: Carlyn Maw, a co-founder of CrashSpace, a Los Angeles Hackerspace, formerly an instructor and graduate of NYU ITP, presents an introduction to Physical Computing.

Location: Richter Auditorium, Cal Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks (6:30-8:30pm)

Carlyn Maw

Physical Computing is a hands-on multidisciplinary approach to interaction design and systems engineering. It is neither electrical engineering light nor advanced hobby electronics, but rather a holistic approach to invention and problem solving. Practitioners are frequently experts in their fields who want to harness the power of electronics within their own discipline. Past examples included:

  • A musician composing a symphonies based on data collected from sensors on the body.
  • An occupational therapist working to develop a pressure vest for children with sensory modulation disorders.
  • A scientist tracking monkeys.
  • A fashion designer creating a dress that unfurls like a flower.

Physical Computing methodologies quickly grab the imagination of beginners by treating electronics and programing as tools which extend what the new-comer already knows rather than as complete separate realms of expertise. With an emphasis on learning by doing and rapid prototyping, Physical Computing provides a quick pay off for those just starting out and for experts making “sketches.”

Additionally, Physical Computing has become a way of life for the communities forming around it. People around the world are working to increase the accessibility of the making things way of life. Carlyn will provide an overview of the conceptual approaches, tools, people and communities that are contributing to Physical Computing today.

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