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OPLIN 4cast #346: Arduino for Makers

Posted in 4cast

arduino boardTomorrow it will be exactly a year since we wrote about 3D printers, now one of the staples of Maker Spaces in libraries. But for the growing number of “hardware hackers” who like to invent and build their own devices, another tool is equally important – the Arduino board. It looks like a small circuit board, and can receive input from sensors and then control things around it based on that input. So for example, an Arduino board could turn on the room lights when it gets dark. (OK, not very inventive, but you get the idea.) While the Arduino is very familiar to hardware hobbyists, it is still pretty rare in library Maker Spaces compared to 3D printers. But that may change.

  • Library staff, supporters celebrate Maker Space birthday (Westport Patch/Caitlin Mazzola) “As supporters, volunteers, and staff cut the cake to celebrate the Maker Space birthday, they looked ahead to the future. First up is the introduction of Arduino boards – tiny micro controllers – to the Maker Space.”
  • China’s hardware accelerators turn engineers into entrepreneurs (Globe and Mail/Tim Bradshaw, the Financial Times) “Low-cost prototyping equipment, such as 3D printers and Arduino microcontrollers that allow you to manipulate a range of hardware, have made it easier to test ideas. Fostered by such innovations, the ‘maker movement’ – a subculture of hobbyists applying the DIY approach to technologies – has been likened by many to the Homebrew Computer Club, which spawned Apple in the 1970s.”
  • Five trends driving the hardware boom (CNET/Boris Wertz) “Numerous innovations are making it easier than ever to develop hardware. The benefits of 3D printing (quicker and cheaper prototyping) are well publicized, but there are other innovations too. For example, there’s the Arduino Robot Kit to experiment with projects that move; UDOO, which combines Android, Linux, and Arduino in a tiny single-board computer to interface with sensors and actuators; and Spark Core, which is the easiest and most open way of creating cloud-connected hardware experiments.”
  • Raspberry Pi and Arduino to get cellular access with SIM card add-on (Ars Technica/Jon Brodkin) “Lots of projects involving the Raspberry Pi and Arduino rely on Wi-Fi, so there would be plenty of ways to put the cellular connectivity to use. SparqEE’s project suggestions include an ‘Arduino-enabled vehicle tracker to know exactly where your car is right from your smartphone,’ and a ‘small, solar-powered, RC helicopter that could fly across the US from the comfort of your desk.’”

Bear fact:
Perhaps the most novel Arduino hardware hack (to date, anyway) uses Arduinos to control those talking Teddy Ruxpin bears from the 1980s and turn them into BearDuinos.