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Build a Physical Computing Prototype

Discover how physical computing is changing the way we interact with technology and the devices around us.

Build a Physical Computing Prototype

Explore how physical computing is changing tech and build your own prototype

Physical computing is the use of computers to respond to the physical movement of the human body.

Whereas in the past computing was limited to immobile computers and laptops, today microcontrollers and sensors are revolutionising the tech industry and how we interact with household items.

On this course you’ll learn what’s inside the devices we all use every day, like kettles, phones, and smartwatches. You’ll come to understand how they work, how they respond to our movements, and ultimately learn to create your own physical computing prototype.

What topics will you cover?

  • Physical computing
  • Hardware of physical computing
  • Software of physical computing, coding physical computing
  • Creating physical computing devices

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...

  • Explore the components and methods for physical computing
  • Investigate how physical computing is used in industry
  • Investigate how to collect, use and process data
  • Create a program that utilises input data
  • Identify parts of a physical computing project
  • Develop several physical computing projects from design to creation
  • Evaluate physical computing in the real world and its impact

Who is the course for?

This course is for computing students interested in exploring the world of physical computing. It would also be valuable for anyone looking for an introduction to physical computing, whether hobbyists or people wondering if a career or degree in computing is for them.

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.

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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