The project of physical computing had to be done using exclusively one technology: Arduino. Being honest, before starting with it, I was a bit confused with this Italian board. It looked to me as a normal hardware board, our old computer were full of these kind of stuff, but still everybody was so excited about it. After a few months passed at LCC, looking into the Maker Movement and taking part at the Mini Maker Fair, I understood what was possible to make with it, but how it was happening it was still a bit of a mistery.

In a first introductory class, Nicolas explained us the electric basis, I already knew that, but is never a bad thing to do a catch up, especially for getting familiar with the english technical terms which I never knew.

It followed a workshop where we had to create a simple circuit with Arduino using a copper tape.

Afterwards, in three intense lessons Tom gave us a great overview on Arduino. he showed us how it works, what is possible to do with it, the various components (servo motor, relays, solenoids, diode) and some health and safety tips.

Regarding the Arduino code, as we had a previous lesson on Arduino in the first term and a couple of classes on Processing, I was already a bit familiar with the C structure:

void setup() {
// put your setup code here, to run once:


void loop() {
// put your main code here, to run repeatedly:


I had already a prior knowledge of if statements and other code basics, but it was good to have a further explanation and anyway this helped me to focus exclusively on the new things that Tom told us (which were a lot).

Following, Tom’s lesson series, we had a workshop with David, to have a first practical trial with Arduino. I was lucky to be in the group with the “expert programmer” Mo, who besides making sure that everything was working, gave me the chance to learn a bit more: as usual, if it was requested to light up one LED he was lighting up three of them and so on. This required a bigger effort for me, but it was good learning.


*Mo’s laptop, the only person in the course not using a Mac.


After this, I started to work on my project. The technology behind it was surely not the most complex as I focused more on the theoretical and research part and, arrived to the outcome, I didn’t really know how to complicate it a bit more, in order to learn more things. However, from a design point of view if something works fine with a simple technology/effort means is good design (so I’m just a too good designer 😛 ).

Not for this it was simple to build the project.

The first problem was the blind, I had to make it roll-up as the light was on. I therefore first thought about using a Servo Motor and making a wood stick turn I imagined the curtain would wrap around it. Sci-fi, the curtain was not wrapping at all, even trying with the lighter fabric possible, the piece was too small to have such behaviour. David suggested me something quite complex which might have worked, but as I started to build it I realised it had to made really precisely in order to work properly and it was not in my expertise, nor in my patience range. Eventually, I decided to go for a solution suggested by Tom, I just hid a servo motor on the back of the wall and, with a transparent fishing string sewn in a bottom corner of the curtain, I managed to open it with the Servo movement.

I therefore connected the Servo Motor to my Arduino and the movement was influenced by a light sensor. It was tricky to set the sensor parameter in order to work, which usually I had to set every time I was moving the project to a different place, as the environment light was always slightly different.

For my first prototype I connected the Arduino just to a LED, but in the second one I connected it to a bigger light and to do that I needed a transistor as the power needed to be distributed.

Finally, everything was actioned by a switch, as the whole process had to work only in case the light in the room was on.


Overall, starting from the point that I prefer softwares than hardwares and I don’t really like to make my hands dirty with cables and solderers, I quite enjoyed making my project with Arduino, continuously annoying Tom and David with my help requests. Many times problems were solved just by moving a cable, which distractedly I put in a wrong place. Indeed, I must say that all I have done with Arduino has been pretty simple and straightforward, but at the same time seldom I had problems with the code, I always found solutions and help online for it.

Here is the code I used for my project: