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The Art of Prototyping Intelligent Appliances

This is the wiki for CS 3650: The Art of Prototyping Intelligent Appliances, a course designed by Tucker Balch and Thad Starner at Georgia Tech. It is a capstone course for students completing the Devices Thread of Georgia Tech's BS in CS program. Other students who are interested are also invited to take the course.

Goals of the Course

The designer of an intelligent appliance must consider computing limitations, power constraints, sensors, actuators, mass and size of their final product. Our objective is to give students hands-on experience with the circuits, materials, assembly techniques, and software tools they will need to successfully prototype intelligent appliances.


Each student receives a boxed kit that includes tools and materials for the course. We collect a deposit of $100 from each student at the beginning of the semester that is returned to the student when the kit is returned.

Each student should purchase a robot kit. The robot is used to demonstrate and illustrate many of the concepts introduced in the class. The student will keep the robot after the course.

The robot kit also includes a textbook that we use in the course.

The class members communicate using an email list.

The class lab provides additional stock materials used during the course.


  • Lesson Introduction
    • Course formalities
    • Course goals
    • Robot intro
  • Lesson Hello World
  • Rapid prototyping devices
    • 3D printer
    • Laser cutter
    • Vacuum former
  • Adhesives
    • Glue lab
  • Composites
    • Composites lab
    • Build a bridge (and crush it)
  • TTL circuits
    • NAND gate make an LED blink
    • Build an A to D converter
  • Sketchup
  • An OS for your robot

How to Edit the Wiki

Students are invited to participate in the development of our wiki. Here is some documentation on how to use it: