Curated Links

Over the years I have collected links that highlight various different learning topics in physical computing. Some of these are more general introduction for beginners, while others pinpoint the use of very specific components and techniques. Use the collapsible sections below to explore!



Many of these books will likely be available at your school or local library.
  • Getting Started with Arduino
  • Getting Started with the Photon
  • Learning the Art of Electronics - A Hands-On Lab Course
  • Arduino Cookbook by Michael Margolis
  • Making Things Talk by Tom Igoe
  • Getting Started with the Internet of Things by Cuno Pfister
  • Make: Electronics by Charles Platt
  • Make: More Electronics by Charles Platt
  • Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Vol 1 by Charles Platt
  • Practical Electronics for Inventors, 3rd Edition by Paul Scherz & Simon Monk
  • Make: Sensors by Tero Karvinen, Kimmo Karvinen, Ville Valtokari
  • Digital Circuits. An introduction to digital electronics.


Online links to other teaching repositories:

Input – Sensing etc.

Advanced Theory

Light sensors

A wonderful video (and Youtube channel) by Andreas Spiess on various light sensors available for use with common microcontrollers such as the Arduino and the ESP8266 (mote mini):

Output – Actuation etc.


Circuits and movings parts need a bit of help to get mounted and/or articulated.

Here's a list of handy diagrams, images on how certain mechanical linkages and contraptions might be constructed. Many of them can be prototyped easily with a laser cutter, and could form the basis for building more robust versions.


Steppers can be confusing initially, due to different number of wires coming out from these things. These links should help to demystify them:

Cable colour codes (typical) for 4-wire steppers:

Source: Hobby CNC Australia

Seeing weird colours on your stepper? Refer to its datasheet!

Modifying the super-cheap 28BYJ48 5V stepper motor into a bipolar stepper (so that it works with an Easydriver or other modern bipolar stepper motor driver board):

General Hardware

General components / engineering materials

When making things, you'll need materials, general parts, fasteners, and perhaps mechanical components such as gears, shafts, etc:

  • RS Online – massive selection of ICs and other parts, you'll need to know what you are looking for
  • Element14 – similar to RS Online (you'll need to know what you are looking for)
  • Digi-Key – similar to RS Online (you'll need to know what you are looking for)
  • McMaster-Carr – North American resource and first destination for sourcing all things mechanical (imperial units)
  • Misumi – Similar to McMaster-Carr, but metric
  • Carbon Fiber – carbon fiber is sometimes a handy material to work with so long as you understand it's properties. Wear proper PPE when working with carbon fiber – carbon dust is not exactly a good thing to breathe in, and be sure to clean work surfaces after you are done. Carbon fiber can be electrically conductive.

Microcontroller / sensors / components / kits

These suppliers sell interesting 'DIY-grade' components, breakout boards for sensors, sensors, actuators and other relatively affordable parts that are useful in evaluating hardware. Aussie resellers import most of their stock from the folks listed in the World section.