Arduino is an open-source hardware platform designed for projects that need to interact with the physical world via sensors: robots, musical instruments...and clocks! The technology is designed to be accessible, easy to program, and versatile.
It's a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than your desktop computer. It's an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple microcontroller board, and a development environment for writing software for the board.
Arduino can be used to develop interactive objects, taking inputs from a variety of switches or sensors, and controlling a variety of lights, motors, and other physical outputs. Arduino projects can be stand-alone, or they can communicate with software running on your computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP.) The boards can be assembled by hand or purchased preassembled; the open-source IDE can be downloaded for free. (via arduino.cc)
Look how pretty:
Our makers assembled to create their own versions of a clock with laser-cut casing and LEDs that light up to mark the time. (A complete list of materials and instructions is posted as an Instructable.) Here are some of the makers hard at work at NextFab -- that's staff member Haseeb helping workshop participant and junior member Matheson Lodge:
And the finished product? Lavon of SoHa Smart made this beauty:
The clocks mark every half-hour, but the code is written so that any developer who wanted to build on it could easily create a clock that marked every passing minute.
Everyone had so much fun building that we've already had requests for another class. We'd like to make this project accessible to everyone who'd like to try their hand! We might run another workshop, or we might make the kits available for purchase so that anyone, in any maker space, can use them! What do you think? Class? Kits? Or both? Let us know! And if you give it a try...be sure to send us pictures of your sexy clocks!
Photo credit: "Arduino Nano" by David Mellis - Flickr: Arduino Nano. CC-BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.