The purpose of this assignment is to ensure all students are familiarized with the PhysComp lab and the primary computational tools used for the duration of the course.


  1. If you haven’t already,┬ásign up for the Github Education Pack
  2. If you’re new to Git/Github, try these challenges
  3. Install Node.js on your computer, either via a direct download or a package manager.
  4. Test your install by typing npm -v into Terminal. If it responds with a number (like 3.3.12), you’re good to go.
  5. Install the Particle CLI with
  6. You may need to run as sudo if you get install errors.
  7. Use

    to create a new Particle account (or login, if you’ve already made one).
  8. Once you’ve made an account or logged in, press Control-c to exit the prompt. IMPORTANT: Do not continue onto further steps in the wizard.
  9. Plug your Photon into your computer, and when it begins blinking blue, use

    to get the Photon’s MAC address. Copy this to your clipboard.
  10. Sign your Photon’s MAC address up on NetReg
    1. Login
    2. Click “Register New Machine”
    3. Under “Select the Network”, select “Legacy Wireless Network”, then continue
    4. Under “Hostname”, type in a unique identifier for your Photon. For example, I called mine MARS-Photon
    5. Under “Hardware Address”, paste your MAC address from the CLI tool
    6. Under “Affiliation” select your university affiliation, then continue
    7. IMPORTANT: Wait at least 30 minutes or so for the network to do its thing. If you’re running into trouble connecting in the next step, wait a little longer. It can sometimes take more than an hour.
  11. Download the Particle App from on your iPhone or Android device, and follow the onboarding procedure to get your Photon up and running. Detailed instructions can be found here.
    1. Be aware that you can’t use CMU-SECURE with the Photon. Everything must be done with CMU. You might want to register your personal computer and phone with CMU as well, to make the setup run a little more smoothly.
  12. Complete the GETTING STARTED tutorial (at least sections 4-7) within the Particle Docs.
  13. Come to class having completed “Make a Motion Detector: Publish and the Dashboard”. You should have the circuit assembled, and the demo code flashed to the Photon (and working). Bonus points for putting your own spin on the demo setup (maybe hook it up to IFTTT, or if you’re working with a partner try “The Buddy System: Publish and Subscribe”).