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What is an arduino?

“Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board.” https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/Introduction

Wait what is a microcontroller? A microcontroller is the brain in your washing machine, microwave or thermostat.  A little computer with a really simple task so it needs just enough computer power to do that task and nothing more. As such they are really cheap $2-$5 bucks delivered to your door.

What can you do with an arduino?

There are endless possibilities here, and only your mind (or the internet) is the limit… One thing I’ve been considering is using an arduino to open and close the chicken coop door at dawn and dusk. You could make a Smart Night Lamp for Kids that lights up when it’s dark and changes color automatically. A Telephone Ringer tailored for the hard-of-hearing. Become a master brewer with your own malt kiln. Arduino + vineyard = Vinduino. Soil moisture measurement, light and temperature sensors in a greenhouse. Build a robot that makes you a sandwich… The sky is the limit.

Where can you learn more about arduinos?

The arduino site has a ton of information, https://www.arduino.cc and a simple google search will lead you to countless open-sourced projects, you tube videos and blog posts. There is also everyone’s favourite quirky robot builder Simone, be sure to click here to check out some of her you tube videos.

Arduinos have been around for over a decade and have tons of programs and code out there that is all open source, so you can cut and paste to your hearts content, and the programming language is simple, so if you need to tweak it a little to fit your problem, it is easy to do!

This is why I am excited about arduinos and am hosting a workshop with Ian Emberton this coming Saturday, March 4 from 12:30-4:30 at Room to Grow (2100 Solland Road, HI) so we can share what we have learned and we can all go on being the unique folks that we are and solve our own problems!

Come Join us! If you can bring a lap top please do. Come with an open mind and lets play, it will be fun!

To learn more about this organization and it’s goings on come to our next meeting on March 22 at 7:30pm at the Firehall. Visit our Facebook page “The Hornby Spark” or email us at hornbyspark@gmail.com

By Quana Parker