When I signed up for the module ‘Electronics For the Rest of Us’, my intention was to get some coding experience under my belt. I wanted to know what code looked like and how I could manipulate it in order to make different things happen in some sort of electronics device. I was able to accomplish these things in the span of three days, which amazes me considering my lack of computer science knowledge. At first I was a little overwhelmed with the Arduino software because I had never seen it before and had no idea how I was going to make LEDs light up. However, the instructors were extremely helpful and my fellow students were very motivated to learn how to program the circuit board. In fact, once I started getting the hang of it, I got quite excited and wouldn’t leave until I was able to complete the task at hand!
At the very end of the module, I managed to create a device that would light up in different colours based on a temperature. If the temperature was within a certain range, the LED would turn blue, for example. If the temperature surpassed the range, it would turn green. To add another component, I programmed the Arduino to play different audio tunes depending on the temperature range as well. Because I’m musically-inclined, I spent most of my time coding for the James Bond theme for a specific temperature range. It was a lot of fun being able to integrate musical knowledge into computer software! When I discovered that I could manipulate notes and pitches, I was ecstatic and spent the majority of my time figuring that out. After creating the device, I realized that it could actually be useful, especially for the visually or hearing impaired because it would light up AND make different sounds based on the temperature range.
Ultimately, I had a fantastic experience participating in this three-day crash course on Arduino software. I think the coding experience is helpful because it gives you an idea of how to manipulate code (even in a different setting entirely). I believe this skill is an asset for practically anyone to have. My only complaint about this course is that it was too short – I would have loved to take it all term and learn even more advanced programming! I would advise any student interested in electronics to take this module. It really made me appreciate and understand how electronics work to a greater degree.