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Introduction to Physical Computing

Explore how microcontrollers are changing our everyday lives and why the future of tech innovation lies in physical computing.

3,199 enrolled on this course

Introduction to Physical Computing
  • Duration2 weeks
  • Weekly study2 hours
  • LearnFree
  • Digital upgradeFree

Get an introduction to the technology behind physical computing

The latest tech, code and innovations no longer exclusively reside inside computers and laptops. They are now inside microcontrollers, and your phone, watch, and kettle can all be examples of physical computing.

On this course, you’ll explore what physical computing is, how it’s changed over the years and what it’s growing into.

You’ll explore the anatomy of physical computing and debate the ethical considerations of physical computing applications.

You’ll also explore the creative uses of this technology and follow the careers of people working in the physical computing industry.

Featured in the UK government’s The Skills Toolkit collection.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds It takes a visionary to combine creativity and technology. They can transform a simple idea into something new and valuable. Creativity provides the spark, and technology makes the difference. But where will our creativity and technology take us? Will technology affect how and what we create? And will creativity help us get the best out of new technologies? This new range of courses from the Institute of Coding brings together artists, programmers, technologists, and engineers to showcase the innovations, people, and practise of creative technologies. Brought to you by UAL Creative Computing Institute and Lancaster University, a practical guide to essential creative technologies will introduce you to rapidly changing creative spaces and the skills you need to succeed in them.

Skip to 1 minute and 12 seconds Explore courses in creative AI and accessible design, chat bots and conversational interfaces, indie gaming and physical computing, virtual and augmented reality. Discover new skills and be inspired by new voices. Whether you’re looking to apply existing skills in fresh ways or step into something new, expand your understanding of where technology can take you. Join us and discover a world of essential creative technologies.

What topics will you cover?

  • Physical computing

  • The architecture of a physical computing system

  • The ethics surrounding physical computing

  • Careers/pathways in physical computing

  • What the Internet of Things (IoT) is

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the basic components of physical computing and its real world applications
  • Explore the anatomy of physical computing
  • Debate the ethical considerations of physical computing applications
  • Explore creative applications of physical computing
  • Identify how physical computing is used in the workplace and its associated job roles
  • Discuss the future of physical computing

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone who’s interested in what physical computing is, where it exists, and what it’s used for.

You might also be interested in the other courses in the Essential Creative Technologies collection from UAL Creative Computing Institute, Lancaster University and the Institute of Coding.

Who will you learn with?

Joe is a Professor of Computer Science at Lancaster University, where he leads courses in Software Development, Institute of Coding initiatives and is a founding partner of the Micro:bit Foundation.

Lorraine teaches undergraduates on the Minor in Creative and Applied Computing. She is an author and avid maker, creating physical computing projects to inspire people to learn more about computing

Who developed the course?

Lancaster University

Lancaster University is a collegiate university, with a global reputation as a centre for research, scholarship and teaching with an emphasis on employability.

Institute of Coding

The Institute of Coding is a family of learners, businesses and educators creating a new way to develop the digital skills needed at work and beyond.

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What's included?

Lancaster University are offering everyone who joins this course a free digital upgrade, so that you can experience the full benefits of studying online for free. This means that you get:

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • A PDF Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you’re eligible