Blog - Sketching with Hardware

Practical Course on Physical Computing


Published on: September 11, 2018 | Author: Lisa Andres | Categories: 2018b, Tutorials

For our project „Feline Cuisine“ we had the idea to create a cat feeding machine which gives personalized food to each cat. To realize that, we used RFID tags, which can be attached to a cats collar.


What is RFID?

RFID (“radio-frequency identification”) is a technology to identify and track RFID tags. The tags contain an identification code which can read by an RFID reader using radio waves. The tags can be attached to objects or be implanted under the skin and need to touch the reader or be nearby it, so the RFID reader can identify the RFID tag. The RFID tag is a transponder which can transfer data and gets charged with power with the RFID reader. Tags that contain an own battery can reach a higher distance to be tracked.


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How to build a smartphone camera trigger

Published on: September 11, 2018 | Author: Lea Gardner | Categories: 2018b, Tutorials


Making sure that everything trivial is safely documented in form of a picture is nowadays a commonly practiced procedure. A quick morning selfie (your face might look different today?), a foodpic or a picture of your last holiday taken by means of your selfie-stick – all these routines need good and flexible access to your smartphone camera. For our Arduino Project “What’s the story morning glory?” we built a breakfast box which serves you your cereals and milk and takes a picture of your finely prepared breakfast (take a look at the blog entry from Elena Rudolph).

#selfie #fornoreasonatall


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Stepper Motors

Published on: September 11, 2018 | Author: Sakina Mammadova | Categories: 2018b, Tutorials

In this blog post I will talk about stepper motors. 

First I am going to give you some information you need to know about these motors. Afterwards I will explain why we used stepper motors in our project (see blog post about Snack2Go). 

Are you ready? Let’s go!


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HX711 – How to measure (in)correctly

Published on: September 10, 2018 | Author: Jan Kaiser | Categories: 2018b, Tutorials


The Naughty Weighn, known from Julia’s blog post, is a smart scale for human measurements. Built from a used scale purchased for exactly one purpose – experimenting – it was quickly taken apart and analyzed.

Image 1: The scale’s microcontroller and load-cell cables


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Starting tomatoes from seed and automating the process

Published on: March 6, 2018 | Author: Fabian Braun | Categories: 2018a, Tutorials

Our project for the course „Sketching with Hardware“ this semester, was the “Seedling Sitter”, an automated seed starting station for tomatoes and other vegetables. Hand in hand to our project documentation, I want to give a small introduction on how to start tomatoes from seed, what factors have influence on the plants growth and how we’ve tried to optimize these in our project.


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Different ways to build a catapult

Published on: March 4, 2018 | Author: Anja Mainz | Categories: 2018a, Tutorials

As part of the practical course “Sketching with Hardware” we built a catapult among other things to complete our project. On the way to a functioning catapult we got to know different possibilities to build a catapult. I would like to present these different possibilities as well as the structure of our functioning catapult in the following.
Generally speaking, there are four basic ways to accelerate the ball in the catapult (or whatever you want to load it with – in our case, however, it was a ping-pong ball): With the help of a spring, air pressure, a magnet or the impulse of motors. (more…)

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Inputs, Outputs? OK…. Sensors? Actuators? YAY!

Published on: March 4, 2018 | Author: Florian Mathis | Categories: 2018a, Tutorials

The following blog post gives you an introduction to input/output pins and shows you basic examples of sensors and actuators we used in our class and how some teams used them in their projects.

The fact that an Arduino can obtain sensor values very simple is one of the features that makes these single-board microcontrollers so powerful.


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The Servo Guide

Published on: April 11, 2017 | Author: Nedko Chulev | Categories: 2017a, Tutorials

1. Introduction and basic components of a servo motor
2. Weight
3. Energy consumption
4. Gear types
5. How far does the servo turn?
6. How does the servo move?
7. Digital or analogue
8. Servo project ideas
10. Additional information


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Component Review: TRIAC

Published on: April 20, 2016 | Author: Marinus Burger | Categories: 2016a, Tutorials

As some course members had to do some extra tasks, I did some research that you can see here on an active component, the Triode for Alternating Current. Because we were considering to use one in our project in order to handle serious current loads for the ventilator, I brought my holy TRIAC enclosure along with the washing machine motor to the course. As soon as we got told that working with 230 V wires was not exactly meant to be part of this project, we turned the idea down but still had some short fun with the untamed power of that beast. washing_machine_motor

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Team 6 – The interaction between Arduino and an Android smartphone

Published on: April 19, 2016 | Author: Maximilian Frainzl | Categories: 2016a, Tutorials

Connecting your Arduino with an Android smartphone enriches your „Sketching with Hardware“ projects with a lot of additional features.

For our project „Confuseball“ we used it to receive a notification on the smartphone (and from there it was forwarded to a web application), whenever a player scores a goal. It also would’ve been possible to send back a message from the smartphone to the Arduino, e.g. for controlling some LEDs through the Android app.

In this tutorial I’m giving you an overview of three different possibilities on how to set up a connection between your Arduino and your Android smartphone and explain how you can set it up by yourself.

I. Android phone as a USB host

What you need:


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