Analog vs. digital output
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Typical view of interaction design
A typical and perhaps unfortunate model of physical computing interaction design.
- on or off
- represented in software as either a HIGH or LOW
- represented in electronics hardware as either 5V (or 3.3V in low-power circuits) or 0V.
- digital output is commonly used for
- gives you 21 = 2 different possible output values
- analog electronic devices produce and respond to signals of varying degrees of voltage
- Arduino, and other microcontrollers are not truly analog devices
- pulse width modulation (PWM) is used to simulate analog signals
- commonly used for:
- fading in/out LEDs and other lights
- speeding up, speeding down regular DC and AC motors
- rotating servo motors
- using transistors as amplifiers (which can then power a variety of devices)
- gives you 28 = 256 different possible output values on an 8 bit output system, like Arduino's analog pins.