This is a project idea for an Honours student or similar. Please contact me if you’d like to follow this up.
I’ve been having fun with arduino boards lately; these are small single chip development boards which have input output lines that can read sensors and control motors etc. They are programmed in Wiring which is really C with some sugar and libraries added. I’ve been thinking that the arduino would make a nice platform to stimulate some interest in beginning programmers as a break from the usual run of problems that we set them. This project would focus on developing a set of exercises suitable for a first or second programming class (I’m thinking COMP125) to develop some of the ideas explored there (data structures, simple algorithms) in a concrete context. Part of the project would be building a suitable platform (I fancy a Blimpduino) and then perhaps evaluating the use of the platform with real live first year students.