Schematics Workshop

Intro and Goals of Workshop

Today we’re going to use circuit descriptions and tactile schematics for hooking up circuits.

Tour of Components and Symbols


Schematics are drawings of the relationships between components in an electronic device. They are blueprints used to build circuits.They use symbols that represent real life components. Real world examples of circuits range from a simple electrical fan to the complex circuitry of the laptop that you’re on.

We are going to hand out tactile graphics sheets with three columns: These sheets will detail 7 components, in order of how we’ll cover them:
  1. Ardunio Microcontroller
  2. Breadboard
  3. Piezo buzzer
  4. Ground
  5. USB cable for Voltage In
  6. 220-ohm resistor
  7. Jumper wires

Take 10 minutes to review and get familiar with the tactile graphics sheets. [After 10 minutes] Does anyone have questions before we move on to exploring our Arduino kits?

Arduino Kits

Now we will explore our Arduino kits.

  1. Locate each component.
  2. In the largest compartment, you will find an Arduino in a box and a breadboard with the power and ground buses connected to each other with jumper wires. There are two smaller compartments. In one, there’s one USB cord. In the other, you will find four items:

  3. Explore each component.

Set Up Your Breadboard and Arduino

To set up your breadboard, please perform the following steps:

  1. Put the breadboard and Uno on the table right next to each other. Put the breadboard to the right of the Uno. Double check that the Uno is oriented so that the USB input is on the top right corner. Keep it that way the entire exercise.
  2. Touch the Arduino pins on the right side of the board. Use an unfolded paper clip and count the pins.
  3. Pins are numbered from 13 (5th pin hole down from the top) to 0 (18th pin hole down from the top)
  4. Touch the Arduino pins on the left side of the board. Use and unfolded paper clip and count the pins.
  5. 3.3V is the 4th pin down from the top.
  6. Ground is on the left side, the 6th and 7th pins down from the top, and the right side, the 4th pin down from the top.

Build Circuits with Tactile Schematics and Circuit Descriptions

Plug in your USB to your computer!

Did it work? You should hear a repetitive beeping sound coming from the piezo. Troubleshoot if needed.


Schematics are drawings of the relationships between components in an electronic device. They are blueprints used to build circuits. Circuit examples would be a simple flashlight to this laptop. There are symbols that represent real life components.

Today we used two different tools: circuit descriptions and tactile schematics as blueprints to hook up circuits. We want to improve these tactile schematics as much as possible and would be so thankful for your feedback. We will be hosting optional, paid, volunteer-based interviews after the workshop at Data & Society next door. We can offer a $25 Visa gift card as compensation. Please let us know if you'd be willing to help. Thank you!

You are welcome to take home your Arduino kits! If you don’t want to shoulder the responsibility or mind a bunch of small components, we can safely hold the equipment for you at the NYU Ability Project, if it makes your life easier.

Basic Screen Reader Workflows for Arduino (time permitting)

We’ve pre-programmed your Arduinos with code for you since we only have two hours, but we have information on how to do it yourself at home.


Install JAVA Access Bridge. Remove all Java spoor from your system:
  1. From the search box open Settings, then tab to the list of items and open Apps. Tab until you get to the list of installed apps and arrow down until you hit Java of any flavor. Press return, then tab to remove and follow prompts to uninstall. Shift tab to get back to the list and repeat with any other Java-related items until there are no Java items left.
  2. Go to the advanced settings dialog and remove any system variables that reference JAVA and remove any java references from the path. Reboot your machine just to give yourself that nice fresh feeling.
  3. Download and install the latest 32-bit JDK from the usual Oracle location. In this case, the package is called jdk-8u144-windows-i586.exe
  4. Open a command window and enable the jabswitch.
  5. Launch Arduino and it works!
  6. Go to Tools > Boards Manager > Select “Arduino Genuino/Uno”
  7. Go to Tools > Port > Select the port that has “Arduino Genuino/Uno” at the end of the port address
  8. Delete the default code in the window
  9. Copy and paste the following code in there instead:
  10. ---code starts below---
    void setup() {
    // make the speaker pin an output:
    pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
    void loop() {
    // turn the speaker on at 440Hz...tone is a function that accepts two values: pin number and frequency
    tone(5, 440);
    // turn the speaker off:
    //This number represents the time in milliseconds the program has to wait until moving on to the next line of code.
    ---code end---

  11. Make sure your board is plugged in with the USB and click “Verify”
  12. Click “Upload”