This is a graduate level course I developed to teach students how to design their own low-cost sensors, data acquisition system and custom hardware and software interfaces!

It’s a ‘hands-on’ course!  It’s intended to provide the skills and confidence to: 1) design basic sensors and research instruments, and; 2) to integrate these in interactive experiments and dynamic control systems.

You do not need any programming or electronics background to take this course!  It’s for movement scientists (and others) who do not necessarily have a background in engineering but who want an introduction to instrumentation and physical computing.  This course follows the ‘Maker” philosophy, taking advantage of easily accessible open source software and hardware platforms.

Course Objectives:

  • Learn basic analog-to-digital conversion and signal processing theory.
  • Learn to design your own simple A-to-D capture system using open source hardware and software.
  • Design low-cost sensors (examples may include building your own emg sensor, force sensor, EKG sensor, position/motion sensor).
  • Learn to program images, animation and graphical interaction using a scripting language (
  • Introduction to basic electronics, circuit design, and microcontrollers.
  • Interface digital and analog sensors/switches with real-time interactive graphics.
  • Interface digital and analog sensors/switches with actuators (e.g. motor) using a microcontroller (
  • Introduction to low-cost open source computer vision (using Microsoft Kinect / Arduino / Processing).

Joe Ricotta PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS; Spring 2020

Senior level undergraduate course.  Details coming…