For a few years now, the last Saturday of March has been known as Arduino Day. This year was no exception, especially since the well-known microcontroller is celebrating its first decade.
…in March 2005 we picked a name for the project. […] Me and David Cuartielles were sitting in front of a screen and I said “OK, let’s call it Arduino, like the bar”. And we pressed a button, sent the file, and that was it. That was how it started. – Massimo Banzi
Saturday, the 28th of March saw over 250 events organised worldwide by maker communities. To celebrate this special occasion, we headed down to Herne Hill, where London Arduino and South London Makerspace had joined forces to gather the hardware enthusiasts of the capital.
The South London Makerspace has just moved to a new home, from a shopfront to a railway arch on the Bath Factory Estate. It is still a bare-bones space, but thanks to various sources of funding, work is underway to transform the first third of it into a workshop dedicated to crafts, electronics and coding, with 3D printers, soldering stations and a laser cutter. The other two thirds will be dedicated to more “messy” activities, such as wood or metal work.
A diverse collection of projects was on show; hacked musical instruments, homemade quadcopters, an Arduino-powered 3D printer, robots, doorbells, and more… The event was meant to be informal, and makers of all ages came along and brought their own projects to share and work on.
There we also met Ernesto, one of the creators of the First Makers shield for Arduino (pictured below). He believes the maker movement can have a great impact on education. The shield was designed to alleviate the difficulties faced by beginners, particularly teachers and kids, by removing any need for wiring or soldering. It is very much a plug and play device which focuses on the coding part by using Snap, an extended implementation of Scratch.
First Makers includes all the usual sensors such as light, temperature, audio, humidity, and others. It also has inputs like switches and sliders, and can be simply extended with a motors board if needed. The team behind the project have been through several iterations of the prototype since December 2013 and are happy with its current state. It is yet to be decided whether it will be launched to a crowdfunding platform.
On an international scale, the day was also marked by the early unveiling of Arduino’s new product (codename Eslov), an intelligent module system.
Arduino is no longer a tool for making prototypes; it’s a tool for making products. – Massimo Banzi
Although not many details were given, this announcement brings to mind existing products like littleBits, SAM or Xadow. However, you will have to be patient and wait for the Maker Faire Bay Area, taking place this May in California, where more will be revealed. This is exciting news for makers supportive of the Arduino brand, who will have even more devices to create amazing things with.