Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Meowser: a laptop and Arduino for a led mineral cabinet

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

meowser

MEOWSER is a (M)ineral (E)lement Br(owser): a wooden display cabinet containing rocks and mineral samples with LED lighting controlled from a laptop computer.  The laptop can display either the periodic table or a layout of the cabinets.  When the user mouses over elements or minerals the appropriate lights in the wooden cabinet light up.  An Arduino microcontroller serves as the computer – LED interface.

Here’s the video explaining how it works:

 

Kids and parents discovering the wonders of 3d printing

Friday, March 29th, 2013

tinkercad codemotion

Last weekend Arduino and Officine Arduino participated to  the third edition of Codemotion Rome, the international event focused on the art of programming.

During the three-day event we organized presentations and lab sessions: Federico Vanzati gave a great talk on the Internet of Things world and the new Arduino Gsm Shield, plus a live coding session on how to use it; then Davide Gomba introduced Processing using the Arduino Esplora as a controller to code and play Pong videogame.

arduino gsm shield presentation

In this creative context the activity that left us with more intense memories has been the 3d printing workshop involving kids an parents into experimenting for the first time the excitement of transforming bits into atoms.

As you can see from the pictures below, kids (with the help of their geek parents) after understanding the basics of the cloud-based 3d app Tinkercad, started creating their virtual objects. Later on the Kentsrappers  team and mister Slic3r with their own 3d printers showed them how, layer by layer, any 3d file could be materialized into an object.

It’s a pity that a couple of days ago Tinkercad announced the closure of the platform, but we hope their new project is going to be as cool as this in involving newbies into the 3dprinting revolution!

Tinkering and coding with teens for a future of digital making

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

one day digital Pic by Alan Richardson Dundee, Pix-AR.co.uk

At the beginning of march Christopher Martin, researcher in applied computer,  wrote us an email to tell us that he got involved in an ambitious plan taking place:  100 school pupils, 5 different digital-maker themes in 1 day for 4 subsequent weeks across Scotland.

The event called “One Day Digital” started on the 2nd of March at the Dundee University, where he is based,  and is organized by Nesta, supported by the Nominet Trust, O2 Think Big and the Scottish Government which created it as part of a wider programme called “Digital Makers” . It is especially aimed at:

encourage and enable a generation of young people to create, rather than simply consume, technology. Working closely with a consortium of partners, we are launching a campaign to highlight the benefits of learning digital skills and encourage innovation in digital education to equip young people with the skills they need to thrive in the digital world.

one day digital Pic by Alan Richardson Dundee, Pix-AR.co.uk

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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.

Exceptionally Hard and Soft meeting at Berlin 28-30 December 2012 (Part2)

Sunday, January 20th, 2013
Arduino at EHSM 2012

Arduino at EHSM 2012

We mentioned earlier about the very special geek way of entering new year 2013. So here is a first hand, un-altered account of Tricia Blickfeldt who participated in the Arduino workshop for kids held there. We now are richer by one more arduino user! Yay! :)

“Before I tell you about the conference, I have to say that I work in Special Education at an elementary school. I am surrounded by children all day every day. Many of them with disabilities. I am not an engineer. I am not a hacker. My gifts do not include technical things. I came to the conference as a friend of one of the presenters. Many of the presentations were foreign to me. I felt very welcomed though and learned a lot. The staff were all very helpful and kind.

I was excited and nervous to participate in the arduino workshop. My friend told me that the class was created for kids with no experience. This was comforting. Kid things are right up my alley. And I certainly had no experience. There had been some last minute changes in teachers for the class, but I was very impressed with the guys who presented the workshop. It was clear that they knew and were very experienced in what they were teaching. When we arrived and there were no kids and, much to my dismay, they changed up what/how they were going to teach. I was soon put at ease though as they began at the beginning and explained what arduino is, what it does, and why it is so amazing and useful. They adjusted to their audience without making it more complicated.

I got really anxious again as they started handing out several little parts for us to build on the arduino board. The directions however were clear and precise. Illustrations were shown and questions were welcomed and answered. I set up an LED light and programmed it to go! The programming was not difficult because we just had to look up the codes for the task we wanted and apply them to what built. To do this we had to name the light in the program so it knew where to apply the command.

Then we added a button and programmed that to make the light go when we pushed it! We had to make some modifications to the code to add the button. I was so excited. We had some time to add more lights and see what we could make them do. I lined them up and programmed them to flash in a row and then back! This was a little trickier to program because we had to name each light individually and tell it to go in sequence. Who knew that I was capable of that?

Finally, we added a knob to control the speed of the blinking. This was definitely the hardest for me to understand. We had to set a delay that corresponded to the position of the knob. I was so excited that I took pictures and videos to prove that I really did it and that it really worked!

I was very impressed at how professional the presentation was. It was given in a way that created meaning and understanding without being overwhelming. It allowed me to create things that I hadn’t ever imagined myself doing. I am motivated now to find a project to work on using what I learned in the arduino workshop.

The entire conference seemed to be a lot like the workshop. It was very pleasant and friendly to all who were there regardless of background or expertise. It was professional and the presenters were all very knowledgeable. I learned a lot and enjoyed my time at the conference.”

PS: Many many thanks Tomek and his friend, for filling in the last minute!

[#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 Starter Kit is here to Rock

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

We are eager to announce the launch of the official Arduino Starter Kit! We have been working hard together in developing a complete selection of 15 projects that will let you become a true arduino tinkerer!

But that’s more:

The new starter kit has been developed together with a series of ten video tutorials hosted by Arduino co-founder Massimo Banzi, which can be viewed at www.rs-components.com/arduino. Ideally used in conjunction with the videos, the kit provides an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It contains all of the essential components required to start programming with the Arduino Uno board, and a guidebook featuring 15 different projects, which are designed to evolve the user from beginner to professional level. Comprising a motor, servomotor and driver, the kit also offers particular benefits to users wishing to apply mechatronics to their designs.

read through for the whole components and projects list

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Labview and Arduino: 3Dmicro Toolkit Arduino Expansion (beta)

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

3D SuperVision Systems is an italian spin-off from “Università Politecnica delle Marche“, whose mission is to design and to develop new solutions for embedded applications.
Few days ago, they published the latest release of 3Dmicro toolkit, a software add-on to NI Labview usable for firmware rapid prototyping on 32-bit PIC microcontrollers, by using Labview’s easy-to-use graphical programming language; along with this, an Arduino-oriented version has been released as well for academic beta testers, which allows users to make use of Arduino’s I/O, ADCs, timers, PWM and serial communication directly from Labview’s interface.

 

More information can be found here, while interested beta-testers can sign up this application form.
[Via: Automazione Open Source]

Castelao Barcamp Vigo 2012

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Castelao Barcamp Vigo 2012

Desde BricoGeek nos llega la noticia de la celebración de una nueva Barcamp, esta vez en Vigo. La reunión perfecta para cacharrear y debatir entre amigos sobre temas como el Open Hardware, Arduino o impresoras 3D entre otros muchos, y puede que con alguna que otra sorpresa.

 

Unas jornadas DIY muy interesantes que tendrán lugar en las instalaciones del CFP Daniel Castelao de Vigo en las que Alejandro Taracido presentará a su mítico robot ORUGAS con las últimas novedades añadidas.

 

Sin duda, un evento al que no se debe faltar!

 

Planning preliminar (sujeto a cambios):

  • Introducción al Open Harwdare
  • Orugas: Robot explorador basado en Arduino
  • Impresión 3D DIY. Crea objetos en tu casa
  • Workshop BricoGeek
  • Taller: DIY Soldadura SMD por refusión
  • Taller: Medidas PWM analógicas
  • Presentación proyecto RACE
  • Raspberry PI como servidor FTP de contenidos

Enlaces:

VIA | BricoGeek

Arduino Workshop a Roma 29-30 Sept 2012 [Arduino Tour]

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Ecco il primo di una serie di workshop che Officine Arduino organizzerà in Italia. Quale luogo migliore da cui iniziare se non la capitale? Abbiamo parlato / immaginato / organizzato con molte persone in questi mesi – da Trieste in giù – ed il buon Alex Giordano lo ha già ribattezzato come il “Tour di Arduino“. Ci accontentiamo di portare workshop dove non sono mai stati, e quindi al Sud, nelle isole. Vogliamo rispondere alle decine di mail di utenti che hanon chiesto e chiedono un workshop a casa loro.

Oggi ci accontentiamo di annunciare questo workshop, che non sarebbe stato possibile senza l’appoggio di Cattid- Centro di Ricerca sulla Comunicazione e la Tecnologia dell’Università la “Sapienza” di Roma e gli amici di DiScienza, una associazione italiana di cui abbiamo parlato spesso, organizzatori dell’annuale Arduino Day che si tiene ogni anno proprio a Roma.

Una talk pubblica su Arduino e l’Educazione, con la spiegazione di vari progetti e possibilità di fare domande e networking é prevista in venerdì 28 settembre in luogo da definirsi. Qualora foste interessati iscrivetevi qui.

Abbiamo anche cercato di venire incontro ad alcune problematiche che sorgono quando si organizzano eventi in giro. Cosa succede se non avvengono vicino a te? Proprio per questo lanciamo un servizio abbastanza rudimentale: un form in cui potete dire dove siete e noi, una volta raggiunto un certo numero di persone vi informiamo in anticipo sulle date e i posti.

Ovviamente non volevamo escludere gli utenti del vivace forum italiano, ai quali offriamo di partecipare gratuitamente alla parte di realizzazione dei progetti della domenica. Per ovvie ragioni abbiamo dovuto limitare il numero di fruitori di questo servizio (che testiamo proprio in questa occasione) al numero di 5 persone. E’ molto importante supportare piccole realtà (non tanto piccole nel caso di Roma, ovviamente) di Smanettoni Arduinici Urbani (i famosi SAU).

Dubbi, domande, perplessità? visitate la pagina del workshop o scrivete a d.gomba(at)arduino.cc