Growing up Arduino
I just read a post on Becky’s blog called “Mmm, serif-y.” She seems to have some mixed feelings about the little Arduino. I tend to agree with her but I’d like to offer a consideration that the Arduino has done more to open electronics and hardware hacking to more people than any other available electronics / hardware / software system to date. It’s easy to use, has lots of examples, an IDE that just work across Windows, OS X and Linux, and is very extensible through shields.
While many of these budding hardware hackers will never progress past the “oh golly gee, my led is blinking” stage, there are lots that will begin to explore more electronics, pcb design and creation, and such. They’ll discover that they can work with different types of hardware and electronics to bring their creations to life. And along the way they will also discover the wonderful sight of chips, resistors and caps going up in smoke. With that annoying burnt electronics smell that comes with it.
They’ll realize that the set of electronic candles they want to create would be too expensive if each one had an Arduino. They’ll start looking at other possibilities like using a PIC processor and designing their own PCB. They’ll ask questions and talk with others who are working to create their own bit of custom electronics. They’ll join or start a local hackerspace. And along the way, they’ll learn a bit and create even more.
All this because they were exposed to that simple world of the Arduino.