Arduino Workshops

There are numerous programs offered in Southern California designed to get young people interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Most programs teach a basic form of computer programming; the more advance projects involve robotics. But these robots are often in reality, little more than remote control devices.

The question is where do students go from here once excited? What more can they do? These workshops challenge students to take their skills and projects to the next level.

If interested, send me a message.

Arduino Sensor Programming for Citizen Science

Citizen Science relies on the collection of data from a numerous locations over a long time period. Devices to collect such data need to be inexpensive, have a long battery life and the ability to store a large amount of data over time. The Arduino is well suited for such applications.

In this one day, intensive hands-on workshop, students will learn how to build and program a data collection platform that can be used in several different applications: weather, air quality, rocketry / automotive, and medical. The class will lead students through the complete process of configuring, programming, building a variety of sensor projects. Students will be introduced to the process of data analysis and visualization using the data provide by their projects.

Students are required to have previous experience with Arduino programming.

During the workshop, students will learn:

  • Fundamental requirements of a data collection platform
  • Analog and digital sensor basics
  • Arduino data interfaces: analog, digital, I2C, SPI
  • Data logging on SD cards with a real time clock
  • Sensors for temperature, light intensity, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
  • Sensor programming in C
  • Breadboarding the system
  • Use of level shifters
  • Calibration and filtering data errors
  • Turning raw data into useful information
  • Basic data analysis and visualization using web-based tools

Wireless Communications

In this workshop, students will explore the range of options available to wirelessly transmit data to and from an Arduino based system; from simple, one-way InfraRed communications appropriate for remote control to Zigbee mesh networks for complex sensor networks.

Technologies explored:

  • Infra-red (IR)
  • Bluetooth LE
  • WiFi
  • Zigbee / Xbee networking
  • ISM (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) bands (915Mhz in US)
  • LoRa (Long Range)

Technologies discussed:

  • Ham Radio Bands
  • Cellular
  • Satellite

Light and Sound

Arduinos provide makers, artists and musicians with a versatile platform to control and manipulate sound and light. In this 8-hour workshop, students will learn how to configure and program the numerous options available.

Sound:

  • How to generate tones using only software using the MusicWithoutDelay and Bhagman Tone libraries
  • Audio generation with the Teensy audio board
  • Audio recording and playback
  • How to trigger playback of pre-recorded MP3 files using the SparkFun Papa Soundie
  • How to control Midi instruments and devices
  • Use of contact microphones and surface transducers

Lights:

  • How to program an addressable LED string and matrix
  • Use of the MM5450 LED driver to control large numbers of LEDs
  • How to select LED packaging options appropriate to their project (individual, strings, ribbons, strips, stickers, sewable)
  • How to address circuit design issues when using a large number of LEDs
    • Fluctuating current loads
    • Voltage requirements & voltage drops
    • Use of current limiting resistors
    • Use of filtering capacitors
  • Switching and dimming higher wattage (and brighter) lights
  • Use of EL wires and fiber optics
  • How to synchronize sound and light displays with VixenLights

Controlling Motors

  • Course under development

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