I want my dress to blink….Open Source DIY Hardware stars in Arduino The Documentary

 

An R&D Lab for your kitchen table

I know you’ve been waiting for it. ;D     

Well, it’s here at last…Arduino The Documentary, directed by Rodrigo Calvo and Raul Alaejos, produced by Gustavo Valera. Interviews with the project team trace the early inspiration and evolution of a project that extends Open Source beyond the typical software domain to create an inexpensive physical computing platform that anyone can use to tinker, design and create interactive objects. DIYers show how they’re using Arduinos to dream an amazing array of inventions into being, and educators share their experiences using Arduinos with high school students, bringing concepts like prototyping and iterating to life.

 

Wow, a lot of people are starting to talk about this. I should check it out. And I got one of the boards and I said, ‘Wow, this is fantastic, beginners are gonna love this. It runs on Mac, it runs on PC, it runs on Linux…this is exactly what everyone wants…This is a fantastic tool for getting people doing the things that they want to do with electronics. Not necessarily learning everything first, but getting the application done, like I want something…I want my dress to blink. Very hard to do if you just want to learn electronics; with an Arduino, you get that done in a few minutes. 

Phil Torrone, former Senior Editor, MAKE, currently Adafruit.com

 

In the documentary, Massimo Banzi on the Arduino team calls Arduino “Processing for the hardware.” 

For those of you new to Arduino, Make Magazine calls Arduino an R&D lab on your kitchen table for prototyping any gadget.” Make’s newest issue, Vol. 25, is devoted to Microcontrollers and Arduino. The Make project site has a section devoted to Arduino that includes how to make a Yobot, an Arduino yogurt maker, and Garduino, an Arduino microcontroller for indoor gardening.

 

 

Favorite quote

What we’re trying to do is Open Source EVERYTHING! 

Zach Smith, Makerbot

Half way through the piece, Zach Smith shows off his Open source 3D printer made with multiple Arduinos–the Makerbot Thing-o-matic— and gives us an enthusiastic preview of the Open source 3D printing revolution–starting with a whistle, bottle opener, and a coat hook. I admire his spirit.

 

 

Visions for the future and education

Teacher Juan Carlos de Mena is shown doing hands-on Arduino musical instruments with his high school students.

It is an amazing tool for getting young people this age in contact with all an awful lot of realities they live in. First to get them to learn that the consumer side–this ‘use the remote with the machine’ side–is not the only one; that it is possible to understand what’s inside and get the control back. Because now all these things have a huge amount of gadgets which they have no idea how they work at all. With Arduino you can get a small glimpse of how all this stuff works, show them some schematics that allow them to have a certain way of looking at all the technological worlds that are going to surround them. And it is also quite funny – it can be used to teach electronics, to teach them how to think, it teaches them how to have less short-term projects and work as a team, how to participate in a community, get information. 

Juan Carlos de Mena, Madrid

 

It took Nathan Seidle a while to wrap his head around the idea when the Arduino team first approached him to carry Arduinos in the SparkFun store. Today, SparkFun has sold over 40,000 Arduino boards. Nathan is encouraged by the possibilities of students learning microcontrollers at a much earlier age.

I did not learn micro controllers until my middle years in college, until the end of college. And I was really blown away by how easy it is to use Arduino, namely, being the forerunner development board. I think, given the right series of events, if Arduino and electronics could be taught in high school, I think there’s a big future for not only engineers, but also artists. Also digital media interactive design people. If they can learn that in high school, imagine how much more they can do in later life. 

Nathan Seidle, SparkFun.com

 

And citizen scientist Sonaar Luthra points to the possible long term contribution of Arduino to design education…

The potential for students when they’re just learning how to use the computer, to learn how to make things with computers…to me that…that’s powerful. And what that would actually mean long term for students with only $50, to be able to plug something into their computer and make something with it over and over again and iterate it and share it. The type of creative community that can engender in young people to me I think that is…that’s going to change everything…and I’m really excited to see what happens as it develops.

Sonaar Luthra, cofounder, CEO, Water Canary

 

 

The Arduino team has two Twitter streams – @arduinoteam and @arduinoblog. Team is where they share cool stuff for the community. Blog is where you can keep up with latest blog posts.

They are opening a shiny new Arduino Community Forum on January 24.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. JJVentrella

     /  January 20, 2011

    This is cool. I feel like programming is too much in the head – I miss the physical touch of real-world creativity with objects that I can hold in my hands – stimulates the creative juices in a way that I miss so much since having left the world of atoms to become an artist in the world of bits. I wish this sort of thing had been in formation when I was in formation. It’ll be great for getting young people to think up practical solutions to the f’d up world we are currently in. By the way – where is this place? I can tell it’s not Kansas. Thanks!-j

    Reply
  2. Anonymous

     /  January 20, 2011

    Hi, JJV. Not Kansas. 😀 The Arduino team was mostly at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea – Milan. The School was closing which drove the project in an open source direction to give it a life post-school. See http://interactionivrea.org/en/index.asp.

    Reply

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