By Rachel McVittie
At Electronics for the Rest of Us, I learned how to use and modify existing Arduino code to control various external elements. Having the base open-source Arduino programs made the work easy to understand and enjoy because we didn’t have to spend as much time learning the basics of the programming language.
I learned how to connect the Arduino board to a breadboard to control various electronic components, and, using sensors, I controlled different actuators. We used a thermistor as a temperature sensor to change the colour of an RGB LED and made a mini night light using a photoresistor and an LED.
My final project involved a thermistor which changed the colour of an RGB LED and triggered a speaker to play Pop Goes the Weasel when it reached a certain threshold. I wired a couple of seven-segment displays in parallel to display the ones digit of the temperature. As I was working, there was a mistake in the code which caused the speaker to emit a clicking noise. With the multitude of wires connecting my two seven-segment displays to the Arduino, people commented that the device looked and sounded like a bomb. Because of this, after I had ironed out the problem in the code, as a fun feature I added a button which would intentionally cause this ticking noise and make the seven segment display flicker.
Overall, the course was a lot of fun. Although I’d had a few lessons on computer programming in the past, this was unique in that there was a physical application of the code.