SparkFun's Department of Education spent an evening in Boulder, Colo., this week, teaching young people, and the young at heart, how to solder a microcontroller.
The "Solder Your Own Microcontroller" class was open to anyone aged 8 or older, and the company provided each participant with the tools, irons, solder, and parts to successfully assemble the SparkFun Arduino Compatible PTH Kit.
While the idea of soldering can be daunting to a first-timer, in my opinion, anyway, attendees seemed to take it all in their strides.
Click on the image below to see how it went.
Where it all started: the Arduino-compatible PTH Kit from SparkFun Electronics. (Source: SparkFun)
Yeah, I totally agree with Beth. Everyone needs to be educated about technology and see everything form a scientific point of view. A wise old man once said that if you don't want to start a fight never talk about religion vs science. natural skincare
Parallax is indeed a good MCU kit; have used them quite a bit. Don't forget the Papilio, an FPGA board for beginners. I wish the school system would teach this sort of material in a science/technology class for 8 year olds and above; I'm sure it would pique their curiosity!
Spark Fun has a great product line that includes many professional grade products along with educational and hobbyist products. When my son was in independent study in High-School I used some of the educational kits from Parallax. The labs, curriculum and kits were well thought-out and even fairly cheap.
Hi Charles - I certainly agree that microcontrollers are mysterious to the uninitiated - what a great way to get folks involved in exploring electronics hands on. BTW, your name sounds so familiar...does Test and Measurement World and this link:
What an awesome program - I was very excited to find out about SparkFun and what they do. I will be exploring their website to see what I can find to help "spark" my own teenager's interest in electronics. That soldering iron was very cool and I enjoyed seeing multi-generational families working together on their boards.
Agreed, Beth. Hats off to SparkFun for enlightening people about electronics. Microcontrollers are shrounded in mystery -- most people have no idea what's inside their iPod of PC. Exercises like this help de-mystify it.
What a great idea and I have to just comment on the size of that solder gun. Guess they really needed to make a point. This is a great opportunity to expose kids and parents and grandparents alike to the technology and work together as a team.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
From home enthusiasts to workers on the manufacturing floor, everyone's imagination is captured by the potential of 3D printing. Prototyping, spare parts creation, art delivery, human organ creation, and even mass product production are all being targeted as current and potential uses for the technology.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.