Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Learning Game Programming with Esplora at the Iron Yard

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Anne Mahaffey teaching with the Esplora - Photo: Chris Brank

Anne Mahaffey teaching with the Esplora – Photo: Chris Brank

 

Anne Mahaffey is an engineer with Analog Devices and was one of the beta testers for the Arduino Due. Anne’s been an ardent advocate for Arduino at Analog, and recently contacted us about a workshop she was planning with the Iron Yard, an accelerator in her hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. The workshop was to introduce kids to programming in Scratch, and to let them build their own game controller with Arduino. She had plans to do it the way many Arduino workshops go: introduce the kids to a little electronics, then a little code, then get them building. She happened to reach us about the time we were putting the finishing touches on the new Esplora, and since we had a good reationship with her as a beta tester, we suggested that she try the Esplora instead. We had a good feeling about it, but no one had used it for a class yet. But Anne’s game for anything, so she said yes.

When she got the boards in hand, she was a bit skeptical:

“I won’t lie. The Esplora was not at all what I had in mind… what about the breadboard? The wires? The hookup diagrams? Isn’t that the fun part? Is it possible likely certain that my perceptions/opinions are being colored by my extremely specialized professional experience as an Analog/RF-centric Electrical Engineer?”

But she gave it a try. The results were promising:

“My first class was last night. I had 17 kids, mostly aged 10-12, if I had to guess. Each child (or sometimes, pair of siblings) had a parent. I had 5 or so volunteers, as I anticipated the first class would be the most challenging.

“It only took about 10 minutes to hand out Esploras, connect them, select correct board and port, and upload EsploraBlink. We had two Windows machines that we had to work with b/c they had many COM ports, so we needed to investigate which COM port was associated with the Esplora.””

“In an hour and a half, I was able to send everyone home with a known working Esplora, which had run EsploraBlink, EsploraAccelerometer, and EsploraMusic; knowledge of how to select board, port, open example, upload to board, and open serial port; my e-mail, and a link to my tumblr… with the ability to ask me questions via both…

“Everyone, including parents were very engaged. They were very attentive, and I think everyone had a really good time!”

 

The Iron Yard Arduino Class. Photo: Chris Brank

The Iron Yard Arduino Class. Photo: Chris Brank

 

We’re excited about this because it bears out what we’d hoped would happen with the Esplora: sometimes you want to learn about microcontrollers only a little bit, without a lot of time spent on the electronics. After her second class, Anne notes:

“It’s interesting now, to look at the differences in the approach that I’m able to take with the Esplora, vs. the approach I would have to take with [other boards and an electronics kit]… when working with breadboards, wires, etc, what’s you’re teaching is the hookup, and then you’re just loading an example, and hitting upload.  [you don't] really go into much detail on the program, and how it works.

Alternatively, I’m teaching the Esplora class with minimal focus on the “electronics,” and am able to focus on the programming.  I think this is going to work out well in the end… when we move on from the Esplora, the kids will have a much stronger understanding of all the programming aspects, and can focus on the electronics.”

We’re thankful that Anne was willing to take a risk with a brand new product, and we’re eager to hear more about her classes as they go along. We’re hoping this opens the doors for teachers who want to get students thinking about the relationship between software, physical interface, and hardware without having to run an electronics class. Keep an eye on Anne’s blog posts on the Iron Yard blog for further updates.

Prossimi eventi: Workshop Base e Maker Faire – The European Edition

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Al periodico appuntamento con l’elettronica amatoriale presso Modena Fiere, che oggi e domani (19-20 Gennaio) ospita Expo Elettronica, i makers e gli hobbysti emiliano-romagnoli non possono rimanere delusi per il calibro degli ospiti in programma. Officine Arduino, assieme ai ragazzi del FabLab di Reggio Emilia, offrono un’occasione unica per confrontarsi con il mondo dei makers e con la prototipazione DIY, grazie a numerose varianti di stampanti 3D esposte e funzionanti, assieme alla possibilità di provare e “toccare con mano” alcune delle novità più interessanti del mondo Arduino, come l’Arduino DUE.

 

Lo stand del FabLab di Reggio Emilia.

Alcune delle novità più interessanti riguardano i prossimi eventi in programma, fra cui troviamo l’importante “Makre Faire – The European Edition”, che verrà ospitata per la prima volta in Italia nei giorni 3-6 Ottobre 2013 a Roma e che vedrà coinvolta l’intera comunità di makers provenienti da tutta Europa. Fra gli eventi in programma vi saranno conferenze, workshop hands-on e numerosi speech, in aggiunta alla fiera “vera e propria” che si terrà nel week-end.

Per partecipare come espositori, a partire dal 18 Febbraio si aprirà una “Call for makers” alla quale chiunque sia interessato potrà inviare la propria candidatura e i propri progetti, che verranno accuratamente selezionati per costituire il programma delle numerose esposizioni previste. Stay tuned sull’home page della fiera per i prossimi aggiornamenti!

Costantino e Davide presentano la Maker Faire di Roma.

Fra gli imminenti eventi in calendario elenchiamo il prossimo Workshop Base di Arduino che si terrà i giorni 26-27 Gennaio a Reggio Emilia, presso il FabLab “Spazio Gerra”. Le iscrizioni sono ancora aperte, ma i posti ancora disponibili sono limitati! Accorrete numerosi! :-)

An Arduino-controlled RGB lamp

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

On his blog, Miguel presents one of his latest projects:

This project shows the operation of an RGB lamp using a digital LED strip. After activating the bluetooth connection, the user can open the GUI on the PC to control the lamp. The program shows a hue palette divided into 30 rods, one for each LED of the strip.
By clicking & dragging the mouse cursor it is possible to make your own patterns,. To remove a color, the user can simply click on a rod while pressing the spacebar, which switches off the selected LED.

Part list: wooden support, RGB digitally-addressable LED strip, microcontroller (Arduino Pro Mini, for example), Bluetooth or USB wire.

More information on this project can be found on Miguel’s blog, while a brief video about its operation can be found here; the code of the project can be found on Github. The project’s page on Thingiverse can be found here.

[Via: Miguel's blog]

 

Product feature: Arduino based loo-information service

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Ever had to wait outside your loo, in a long queue during office hours? Wished that you had not left your desk un-attended when your boss was on rounds? Avail the new feature from the Indian company Webchutney.

It’s an interactive loo service which removes the queue from the loo. The service allows anyone in our office (Webchutney-Delhi, India) to check the status of the loo, ring a bell if engaged and get notified when the loo gets vacant, all this remotely sitting at your desk.

Contact them for more details! ;)

Disclaimer: This project was submitted as a part of our community contribution feature. The correctness of the information is the sole resopnsibility of the contributor.

[#arduinotour] Matera Report, Prossima Puntata: Reggio Emilia

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Ecco un piccolo video report della puntata dell’Arduinotour a Matera (c’é anche un set su Flickr). Questa edizione del tour é stata caratterizzata dalla partecipazione di un ragazzo francese (partito dalla Bretagna e volato per un week-end a Matera – Grande Baptiste!) che ha condiviso con noi la sua esprienza di sviluppatore di open energy monitor, un framework open source per la visualizzazione di consumi online, di cui parleremo presto in una intervista ad hoc. (il blog di Arduino ha trattato precedentemente questa storia, vai al post).

Causa maltempo il workshop é stato ospitato presso le Monacelle, un bed & breakfast poco l’ontano dall’Incubatore, all’interno dei Sassi. Un grazie a Sviluppo Basilicata per il supporto e l’aiuto nell’organizzazione dell’evento.

Per chi si stesse chiedendo quando e dove si farà il prossimo workshop #arduinotour, eccovi serviti: Reggio Emilia a fine gennaio (26-27), presso il neonato Fablab ospitato all’interno dello Spazio Gerra.

Se volete portare l’#arduinotour a casa vostra riempite questo form. Se volete spargere il verbo fate il like sulla pagina dell’arduinotour su facebook.

Arduino: creation is child’s play [Wired Italia]

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Have a look at this wonderfully handcrafted 20-min webumentary about Arduino, made by Opificio Ciclope and produced by Wired Italia.

Nice format and nice look: good job.

The core of our story is the life of Massimo Banzi, and the region in which he was born: the Canavese area. In particular, the city of Ivrea, a veritable Mecca of Italian informatics, where Olivetti had its headquarters. The more we discovered their world, the more it became clear that this story was not only about silicon and circuits: it was about their shared excitement and their curiosity, like kids playing with their favorite toy.

(BTW, Massimo is not from Ivrea, but I guess Ivrea’s Mayor is going to give him and the Arduino Team the honorary citizenship)

via [Wired Italia]

Exceptionally Hard and Soft meeting at Berlin 28-30 December 2012 (Part1)

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Ever wished for a really geeky end of the year? Wondering where to get all the latest awesomeness in the hardware world and get to see the people behind it? Reach out for Exceptionally Hard and Soft Meeting (EHSM) 2012 in the beautiful city of Berlin.

Here is a list of confirmed speakers to give you an insight into why you must attend:

The keynote speaker is Will Jack a 17 year old who apart from building a nuclear fusion reactor, recently built a writing pen for himself because he wanted one.

ICs are really small and badass but you can learn the technique of Reverse engineering it from John McMaster. His work can be seen on siliconpr0n.org.

Wires are the veins of an electrical circuit and Adrian Lelong would teach you wire characterization and diagnosis using various methods which is essential for the critical applications.

What new can be innovated in the technology behind music? Kaspar Emanuel would share his experiences behind a startup AlphaSphere doing the exact same job. AlphaSphere is a new musical instrument designed exclusively for electronic music. He would talk about the approach of open Innovation behind it.

If film deposition, plasma etching, linear particle accelerator, electron beam microscope, electron beam welding, molecular beam epitaxy are your favorite words, then you would surely enjoy the talk by Sylvain Radix and David Rochelet where they describe their success and failures in electrolab while building high-end vacuum systems the step 1 for various purposes stated above.

Coding and debugging without Java? Yes, using the web browser, also you would learn to tweak the CPU with Yann Guidon and Laura Bécognée and demoing YASEP.

A talk by by Stefan Sydow and Sebastian Koch would be on software defined radio with aircraft radio transponders head to metafly to see its live application.

Don’t have a complete idea on all the above technologies? Want your child over 7 years of age to start with her first tech at the conference? Your beloved arduino might be there too, to take a workshop on ‘Getting started with arduino’ for children and beginners.

Head over here to read about more amazing people or wait for part 2 for more announcements on the speakers.

Heard enough already? Head here to book tickets now!

The Arcade Machine, by Timothy (15)

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

[Timothy Zandelin], a 15 years old Arduino enthusiast has sent us his first Arduino Project, an arcade interface based on Arduino Leonardo.

The cabinet is made of 4mm HDF and were laser cut at “Fabriken” in Malmö. The red arcade sign in the top is produced in 5mm translucent acrylic. All design and construction drawings were made in Illustrator. I used an Arduino Leonardo to connect the joystick, buttons and the LED light.  The game installed, Superstar Chefs, is an old game developed by my dad’s cousins.

On the other hand, Timothy also built his own prototyping board to learn about how to use different inputs and outputs.

My prototype board was made with Fritzing.

It includes:

– 6 green 3mm LED’s,

– 11 resistors (6 330 ohm, 4 10K ohm and one 100 ohm),

-1 dip8 socket with an ATtiny45,

– 1 potentiometer,

– 4 pushbutton and header sockets.

I created this prototype board to easily get started with Arduino.

Timothy, welcome on board!

Hamburg Maker Meeting 2012 and Arduino Due preview

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Hamburg Maker Meeting 2012, which took place last week and involved about 200 visitors and more than 20 exhibitors, has been a fantastic opportunity to meet and share experience regarding several topics, such as 3D printing, hacking, retro gaming and so on. At the Attraktor Makerspace, several projects have been presented and demonstrated by their inventors, among which we highlight a very nice Arduino-based floppy drive organ that has been employed to play the Tetris game theme.

Moreover, among the others events planned for the meeting, a special sneak-preview session allowed all the interested people to get some insights on the new Arduino Due board, released a couple of days ago.

A video of the event can be found here, while here you may find more pictures.

More information can be found on the homepage of the meeting.

[Via: Hamburg Maker Meeting website]

Workshop Roma, il Report [#arduinotour]

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

E’ terminato da qualche giorno il primo capitolo dell’#arduinotour, a Roma. E’ stata una esperienza molto interessante che ci ha fatto capire cosa funziona nel nostro metodo di insegnamento , ma che ci ha permesso di aggiustare il tiro su alcune mancanze comunicative dettate dell’accumularsi di eventi (e.g. abbiamo informato gli utenti iscritti alla presentazione del venerdì in ritardo, e ce ne scusiamo).

Un grazie particolare a Paolo De Gasperis, Marta Serpietri e Leonardo De Cosmo di Discienza per il supporto organizzativo e a Cattid per la location.

Detto questo, ci siamo sforzati di restituire quanto più possibile del materiale prodotto al workshop a tutti i nostri lettori. I progetti emersi sono stati tre (vedi video sopra / guarda il set sul flickr), e devo ammettere che il livello é molto alto per un workshop base. Tutti i codici dei progetti sono online sul nostro github. Non abbiamo usato particolari periferiche fatta eccezione dell’Arduino Wifi Shield, dell’Ethernet Shield,di un paio di Sensori di Alcohol di Parallax e di cinque FSR oltre ovviamente ad un roverino facilmente reperibile online.

I prossimi workshop dell’#arduinotour sono a Cava De’ Tirreni il prossimo 20-21 ottobre, a Matera il 17-18 Novembre e saranno tenuti da Mirco Piccin e da me: ci divertiremo!

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