Sketching In Hardware

Toolkits » Phidgets

Phidgets are easy to use building blocks for interfacing the physical and the virtual worlds. This system arose out of a research project at the University of Calgary in Canada. The philosophy behind it is “… just as widgets make GUIs easy to develop, so could phidgets make the new generation of physical user interfaces easy to develop.“

Modules are plug and play and don’t require soldering of electronic components. The system has an extensive library of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and can be used with a large number of applications, even with other toolkits in some cases.

Field Data
Price (sek)2000
Backgroundphysical widgets, spin-off from university research.
Ease of useeasy to advanced, requires a computer
Documentationwell documented by the manufacturer, limited community documentation
Purposesrapid prototyping, proof of concept,easy input/output capabilities for computers
Flexibilitylarge selection of modules, modules have fixed configuration, expensive to scale
Input vs Outputlarge selection of input and output modules
Strengthsmany programming languages and OSes supported, good quality modules
Weaknessesexpensive, hardware configurations are fixed, need a computer (except for new standalone board)