What to do with Arduino!

(This Post is a class requirement for History 9832b Interactive Exhibit Design)

Photograph courtesy of www.arduino.cc
Photograph courtesy of www.arduino.cc

The first class for Bill Turkel’s History 9832b Interactive Exhibit Design was yesterday.  Fellow archaeology  program interloper Namir and I found ourselves surrounded by history grad students, heads down, working hard to make our little Arduino micro-computers blink, sing or just do something!  Trial and error, a little loose cobwebs and some laughter proved to be a massively fun class……especially for those of us regularly engaged in theoretical debate.

So, for those who don’t know Arduino, it’s a little micro-computer that can be programmed to do a myriad of things.  I won’t go into a long description, so check out the official Ardunio website as well as a perfectly produced YouTube video called Super Simple Arduino by grade-schooler Sylvia, to get a basic idea of what this little device can do for your project, business or cat-chasing needs.

We’re all starting to think about what to do with this little appliance in our history, archaeology or digital humanities research. Until this course, I had never thought of a self manufactured object or appliance as an extension of the digital environment or even a bridge between the analog and the digital.  It opens up a whole new world, but it’s additionally scary as it can literally be applied anywhere, for anything, at any time!  Which leads me to today’s blog; What to do with Arduino!

One thing is for certain.  This little device needs to be incorporated into grade school level education!  It teaches computer and programming skills, traditional electronics, team integration and building, concept design and a slew of other inter-disciplinary skills.  Anyone, with any level of understanding can work with this and produce immediate feedback and results.

It’s a brief and gushing review, but my point is this.  We’re so wrapped up with Blackberry’s, IPod’s, IPad’s, streaming video, video games, animated films and the millions of other distractions that has all the sudden come upon us in the 21st century, that it’s nice to see a simple tool that can be used by anyone, become the spark of innovation, discovery and imagination in all of us.

2 Replies to “What to do with Arduino!”

  1. Great idea! These would be excellent for our schools to adopt. It would be far more interesting than just doing the typical drudge of public schools, such as typical science projects; “What happens if I add “Solid A” to “Liquid B?”. Instead, it will be something along the lines of: “What would happen is I plug this here, change this light, add a switch,connect it to a fan, modify this code, and press Go!’?”

    I also enjoyed the Arduino a lot. I played with it for another few hours when I got home. Nice post! 🙂

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