BlinkBoard: Guiding and Monitoring Circuit Assembly for Synchronous and Remote Physical Computing Education

Andrea Bianchi
Kongpyung Moon
Seungwoo Je
Google Scholar


Motivated by the necessity of guiding and monitoring students' progress in real-time when assembling circuits during in-class activities we propose BlinkBoard, an augmented breadboard to enhance offline as well as online physical computing classes. BlinkBoard uses LEDs placed on each row of the breadboard to guide, via four blinking patterns, how to place and connect components and wires. It also uses a set of Input/Output pins to sense voltage levels at user-specified rows or to generate voltage output. Our hardware uses an open JSON protocol of commands and responses that can be integrated with a graphical application hosted on a computer that ensures bidirectional communication between each of the students' BreadBoard and the instructor's dashboard and slides. The hardware is affordable and simple, partially due to a customized circuit configured via a hardware description language that handles the LEDs' patterns with minimal load on the Arduino micro-controller. Finally, we briefly show how this hardware made its way to a workshop with high-school students and an undergraduate class in a design department.