I went into the workshop without the slightest clue as to what an Aduino was. I had, however, heard a few people whispering excitedly about the workshop, and so I thought it might be a good idea to check it out for myself.
An Arduino, as it turns out, is an “open-source single-board microcontroller”—according to Wikipedia, anyway. For non-techy people like me, that’s a mouthful. However, as I’m trying to fully immerse myself in the digital world, I figured this workshop was a good place to start.
The goal of our project was to make a little light show using our Arduino board and mini LED lights. It sounded easy enough.
The Arduino software turned out to be complicated, but we luckily had computer science major Ryan Dorson in our group to guide us. We would have been completely lost without him.
Under Ryan’s direction, we set up the board, connecting wires and lights, and Ryan showed us how he was programming the board on his computer. Our work was a success, and we were able to get the light blinking as fast or slow as we wanted it to.
Later, we tried different colored lights, which turned out to be much trickier than we had anticipated, but we still managed to get three blinking lights by the end of the workshop.
In between working on our own Arduino, I looked up some other examples. I couldn’t believe how much you could do with just a tiny board. My favorite was an Etch-a-Sketch clock that drew out the time every minute and erased itself. I’d definitely be up for trying to make something like that in the future. It’s so fascinating!