There are lots of resources on the web for learning about Making, Electronics, and Tangible Interactive Computing. I encourage you to do your own searches and determine your favorite sources of information. Below, you'll find a vetted list of information that I've found useful either in learning concepts/skills myself or in helping me think about a good way to teach them to you. I will be adding resources as the semester continues.

General Making/Electronics Tutorial Websites

Places to Purchase Materials/Parts

Electronic Components

Brick-and-Mortar Stores

  • Radioshack (their website has more selection than their stores but the College Park store actually has a wall of components including Arduinos, resistors, etc.)
  • Microcenter (Rockville and Baltimore/Towson locations)



There are no required books for this class. The listing below includes books that I found useful in shaping and informing course content. The University of Maryland has a subscription to Safari Tech Books Online, which includes hundreds of books published by O'Reilly (note: this is not a comprehensive subscription to everything in Safari's catalog--indeed only 8%--but a good resource nonetheless). I've attempted to include Safari links when available.

General Digital Making / Electronics

  • Charles Platt, Make: Electronics, O'Reilly, 2009, Safari Online (this is one of my favorite intro electronics books)
  • Simon Monk, Hacking Electronics: An Illustrated Guide for Makers and Hobbyists, McGraw-Hill, 2013, Amazon (though short and sweet, I also highly recommend this intro book)
  • Charles Platt, Make: Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Volume 1: Resistors, Capacitors, Inductors, Switches, Encoders, Relays, Transistors, O'Reilly, 2012, Amazon, Safari Online
  • Dan O'Sullivan and Tom Igoe, Physical Computing: Sensing and Controlling the Physical World with Computers, Thomson, 2004, Amazon
  • Paul Scherz and Simon Monk, Practical Electronics for Inventors, 3rd Edition, McGraw-Hill, 2013, Amazon (this is a more advanced book, e.g., the first chapter entitled Theory is 248 pages long).
  • Tom Igoe, Making Things Talk, 2nd edition, O'Reilly, 2011, Safari Online


Software Tools

Circuit Design Tools

Circuit Simulators

  • Circuit Lab costs $12 for 6-months of access to students (i.e., users with .edu e-mail addresses).
  • PartSim (not nearly as good as Circuit Lab based on my brief experimentation)
  • Do Circuits (again, not as good as Circuit Lab but has a 'free' version; otherwise $2.99 or $3.99 a month).

Course Curriculum

In addition to these generally helpful links, there are often pointers to additional, specific sources of information within the homework assignments themselves.



  • ABC News Video, IDEO and Design (The Shopping Cart Redesign Video), Nightline, July, 1999 [source link]
  • ABC News Video, IDEO Design Thinking, 60 Minutes, January 2013 [source link]
  • Tom Kelley, The Perfect Brainstorm, Excerpt from The Art of Innovation, 2007 [source link]
  • CBS Morning Video, Interview with the Kelleys on Their Book Creative Confidence, 2013 [source link]
  • Stanford d.School Video, Stanford Design Thinking Virtual Crash Course, 2012 [source link]
  • Review of Creative Strategies, Faste Foundation, 1989


  • Dow, S., Glassco, A., Kass, J., Schwarz, M., Schwartz, D., & Klemmer, S. (2010). Parallel prototyping leads to better design results, more divergence, and increased self-efficacy. ACM Transaction on Computer-Human Interaction. 17, 4, Article 18 (December 2010), 24 pages. [official link]. Helps highlight and demonstrate the importance of pursuing prototypes in parallel.
  • Moggridge, B. (2007). Prototypes. From Chapter 10 of Designing Interactions. [source link].
  • Hartmann, B. (2009). Prototypes in the Design Process [source link]. From Bjoern's Berkeley PhD Dissertation Gaining Design Insight Through Interaction Prototyping Tools [full dissertation here].
  • Cerejo, Lyndon. (2010). Design Better and Faster with Rapid Prototyping [source link].


Serial I/O

Working With Sensors





Some Basics

Ohm's Law


Voltage Regulators


Electroluminescent (EL) Wire and Panels







Construction Paper





3D Printing

Other Classes That Inspire(d) This Class

People Who Inspire(d) This Class

In one way or another, the following people inspired this class. This is an organic list and in no particular order. :)