I'm a software person at Prodigy. My COVID projects are currently Pizza & Bread.

Arduino

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I’m years late to this party, but the Arduino is so cool.

I’m a software person. I have almost no hardware experience outside of a high school class decades ago where we built hardware logic gates.

But, my kiddo has been falling down the Ghostbusters rabbit hole and he really wanted to make a ghost trap with blinking lights, sounds, and doors that open. It sounded like a perfect excuse to learn some basic electronics.

I bought the Arduino Starter Kit for like $100 CDN and it came with:

  • A microcontroller
  • LEDs to blink
  • Piezoelectric buzzer for beeping
  • A servo to open the ghost trap (naturally)
  • Wires, resistors, LCD screens, and lots more

It also came with an amazing starter manual that walks you through several projects to gain understanding of the various components in the kit. There’s even YouTube videos if you want a more visual walkthrough.

The Arduino has an IDE for uploading code to the microcontroller. The language is it’s C/C++ with a really simple API for controlling the various pins on the board.

In about an hour we had figured out how to have blinking lights and beeping sounds in response to a button press. I’m really excited to see how impressive of a ghost trap we can build.

My software career has been writing code that runs on servers or in browsers. I have some empathy for the hardware, especially when I do things that tax it. But, there’s something tangibly different about code written for a server in the cloud versus code on the Arduino. It’s addicting to see your software change something in the physical world. I really recommend it to other software people.