Physical Computing is the material side of the largely immaterial digital processes one encounters in computing environments. By building physical objects- like sculptures, circuits, robots, or controllers - one re-materializes the out-of-touch experiences so endemic to computer culture.
Physical Computing is exciting. It invades living space ("first life" // "meat space" // "the real world" ) with lively, intelligent objects. It also allows artists and programmers to reconsider touch and feel as sensory perceptions marginalized by purely digital production.
I've been waiting to get into physical computing for a long time. Initially, I was intimidated by its sophistication, by its limitless potential, and by my severe ignorance of electrical engineering which I perceived to be indispensable for physical computing. Finally getting around to playing with physical objects in computer processes as a senior at Brown University, I can tell you that the wait was worth it, although I really wish I started earlier. With free, open source tools like Arduino to take advantage of, just about anyone can work with physical computing. And if you're someone (like me) who already knew how to program, and was familiar with Processing, well then the process becomes all the easier since Arduino is based on the Processing IDE.
So this page is really a moment of celebration: finally I've learned enough about electronics to begin wiring things up. With the help of Ed Osborn and VA 1710: Physical Computing, I've entered the fun sparkly world of Arduino Boards and miles of wire. Now let's do something with this knowledge.