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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
It won't be too much longer and hardware design, as we used to know it, will be remembered alongside the slide rule and the Karnaugh map. You will need to move beyond those familiar bits and bytes into the new world of software centric design.
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.