Tag Archives: Maker Media

Teaching Arduino in paradise (Maui)

Bill Levien recently packed his bags and flew to Hawaii with a syllabus and a hefty stack of Atmel-powered Arduino boards. His mission? To teach open source computing at “Winterim,” a four-day workshop organized by Jaqueline Peterka and Roberta Hodara at Seabury Hall in Maui.

“With the books and videos that I had in Flow and a few rather large orders from Maker Media and Adafruit, I was able to gather enough course material to ensure that we eased into programming and electronics while laying a strong foundation for tinkering, setting up the students for continued learning beyond the four-day workshop,” Levien wrote in a blog post describing the course.

“On the morning of the first day, we built some basic circuits without a microcontroller to get a feel for prototyping circuits using tactile buttons, potentiometers, force sensitive resistors and ambient light sensors. In the afternoon we went over to the lab to demonstrate how a microcontroller can do many things with the same basic circuits, using code to modify blink patterns, blink durations and multiple LEDs. After some more light coding, we were able to play a melody using a piezo-buzzer via pulse-width modulation.”

By day two, course participants had graduated to using a third-party library, switching statements to decode signals via an infrared receiver which listened for commands from universal remotes to control various outputs.

“We were able to switch on LEDs, control servos and change colors of an RGB LED. We learned to read and sketch schematics and dug into basic programming concepts like switch and if/else statements and for loops,” Levien explained.

“We also got a lot of practice mashing up code samples from books with our own code and modifying them to achieve our desired functionality.”

On the fourth and final day of the course, each student proudly showcased an Arduino-based project including:

  • Temperature probe that activates an LED at 23° Celsius.
  • A game, counted on a 7-segment display and monitored by a PIR motion sensor, which challenges users to press a button as many times as they can.
Fortune-telling “magic” 8-ball.
  • Motion-activated intruder alarm, armed/disarmed via remote control.
Motion-activated intruder alarm programmed to play a threatening melody with a buzzer.

Interested in learning more? You can check out Bill Levien’s full post on the Safari Blog here.

World Maker Faire 2013: 70,000 attendees and 650+ Makers

The long-awaited World Maker Faire will be kicking off September 21st in the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI). According to Sherry Huss of Maker Media, the best of DIY invention, creativity and resourcefulness are expected to be showcased at the Faire.


“World Maker Faire at NYSCI has become an anticipated experience for New Yorkers and, really, folks from all over the world to see, learn, and do more in the world of making,” Huss explained.

“This year we expect to have more than 70,000 Faire goers over the course of the weekend engage with 650-plus makers who will be exhibiting their amazing projects. As usual, there will be makers representing all types of projects around engineering and technology, health and science, food and sustainability, fashion, crafting and so much more.”

World Maker Faire New York 2013 is slated to bring back some Faire favorites as well as showcase new makers and their DIY ingenuity. For example, attendees can meet more young Makers, get the latest on 3D printing (MakerBot, RepRap) and experience the best of Maker start-ups. Makers will also be offered hands-on experience with various boards, including various Atmel-powered Arduinos.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the rapidly growing Maker Movement is a passionate one, and Atmel is quite passionate about being a part of it. Atmel, of course, makes the microcontroller (MCU) that powers the incredible open source Arduino board and is therefore at the very center of the whole Maker revolution. For many makers, Atmel-powered Arduino boards are the easiest and fastest way to go from platform to prototype. The best part? As with most of the Maker hardware, you don’t have to be an engineer to use it. Like Arduino’s Massimo Banzi says, “you don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”

Larry Magid, a technology journalist who writes for the San Jose Mercury News, recently expressed similar sentiments by noting that we are all Makers to a certain extent, even if some of us don’t know it yet.

“All of us – even Leonardo da Vinci – were late comers as far as the Maker Movement is concerned,” he opined. “Our prehistoric ancestors millions of years ago, figured out how to turn stones into tools so that they could make things. Only they didn’t have fairs, books and websites to document the process.”

Will.i.am, the technophile founder of The Black Eyed Peas, also offered a ringing endorsement of the Maker Movement and related culture a few weeks ago on Facebook.

“Every young person is going to be inspired to be a maker from now on,” said Will.i.am. “It’s like how everyone used to want to be a musician, an actor, an athlete — but a maker is what people are going to want to be.”

If you can’t make it to World Maker Faire in NYC and visit Atmel in the Arduino pavilion, no sweat. You can follow all the goings on via Twitter. Just look for the hashtags @makerfaire, @atmel, @arduino.