As a science student with no particular direction or idea of what I want to do with my life, I find myself dabbling in many different areas that pique my interest. Over the past few months, one of my interests has been computer science, and when I came across this three day course in Arduino, I didn’t hesitate to sign up.
The course didn’t disappoint. The first evening was a simple introduction to the Arduino program, where we were introduced to the power of Arduino, and all the things that can be done with it. We learned that the applications can be as simple as a fun robot that talks and has flashing red eyes, to a bionic hand that uses pressure sensors as controls for movement. Our first task was to hook up the Arduino board to an LED light and make it flash – boring to a more experienced user, but exciting for someone with minimal experience.
The next night was more intensive, and required more thought and putting together of concepts. It was this night that I really got to dig my hands into the hooking up of the circuit and the overall electrical workings of the program. It was really interesting to see the direct connect between script and hardware; most computer users use their computers without really thinking about the goings-on inside, but to be able to control the goings-on of a small piece of hardware was an exciting feeling.
The final day was a challenge, but a fun challenge. Our final task was to create a device that would perform a number of functions including sensing the atmosphere temperature and both alarming and changing LED light colour when the temperature got too high or too low, and another more interesting function which, in my partner’s and my case, would play the Star Wars theme song at too high a temperature. It was an extremely basic device, but a good experience nonetheless.
While this was a thoroughly enjoyable course, I have come to realize that computer programming is not for me. I found myself naturally gravitating more towards the building side of Arduino, and the setting up of the circuit, rather than the coding itself. Taking this course helped me further carve a path in my interests; while I still have no idea of what I want to do with my life, it helped me filter out a few interests while introducing me to a few other, different interests.”