Right, I’ve moved approximately 10 metres from one end of the marquee to the other and I’ll probably stay here for the rest of the afternoon! The first talk of the afternoon is Arduino: Robots, WiFi and extreme hacks by David Cuartielles. Just jumped in after my sandwich to hear him talking about the worst times in his life… trying to get to grips with Apple OS and his divorce. He reckons both we’re equally stressful! And on to him talking about the birth of Arduino. They made a few and thought that would be enough…
He’s saying that no one needs to know how transistors work to use the Arduino because no one ‘gives a fuck how transistors work’ and besides, you can’t even see them anyway! We’re looking at a graph that’s showing the distribution of Arduino which is pretty impressive.
Arduino is there to help people get started with technology. To have the ability to create a coherent development and educational experience. Answer complex questions within new computing paradigms: embedded, ubiquitous, palpable, wearable… (these are not my words!!). They also incorporate user feedback into their own R&D. There’s something at the bottom of the slide about the 2,8 rule, I’m not sure what this is, but he’s not got to the bottom of the slide yet… He’s not going to tell me what it is, we’ll have to wait until the questions, I could actually Google it instead. Can’t find it, will have to wait. Now we’re looking at a car that is driving by itself (sounds like this is open source but paid work for a client!). I can see a robot on the screen that’s made out of wood. It drove the car. Amazing! All powered by Arduino.
In Mexico there are cultural centres where the kids who aren’t going to university go to learn about arts, theatre, psychology etc… they have a computer room where kids aged up to 24 learn about computers. They were coding instruments and they wanted to make robots, he didn’t want to make robots. He says Faaaaa (which is the same as F**k apparently but there are kids here so…) So he showed them how to do robotics from Arduino with these kids. There are cars and Pacmans/Pacmen(?) (search David Cuartielles on Vimeo to find videos of this stuff). Then he was asked to work with kids in Spain to make a robot. These guys take a year to make these things and every year they improve and streamline. He got involved. We’re looking at the robot Arduino video he shot in his kitchen. It’s pretty awesome. I want one, but I’m not clever enough to programme the thing. Maybe that’s the point and I should try… YIKES! €189!
He then worked to create computing curriculum in Spanish schools. He asked them not to buy books and to have it open source and experimentation based. This was rolled out to 500 kids across 24 schools. Started with a 4 week introduction. 5 weeks of project with weekly presentation and feedback leading to a 9 week sprint on their own projects. They didn’t do abstract stuff, it was more about themes like sport etc… making things and finding out how to solve problems related to these thematic projects. All of the kids did different things to create the project. Broad based group learning. More related to real life. After a month all 24 schools made it to the final presentation (400 kids).
This is an example of how to change the mind set of people and their approach to technology.
They were asked by Sony to hack their smart watches. They even said they could keep the watches. Now the watches can run on Arduino and it’s all available on GitHub. They made games for it too.
With Arduino there is this kids who’s using accelerometers to detect earthquakes. That’s pretty cool. There’s another person who’s detecting carbon footprint to make you more efficient in your use of energy. You use just enough, if you over use you kill the plant that is providing you with energy. Fits in with a network of devices and can be found at naturalfuse.org. Also another Arduino that is tracking the radiation in Fukushima with a Geiger counter that posts the measurement data to a map. It’s not scientific but it’s near enough to warm people. Not perfect but good enough to get an idea of what’s going on.
Will someone teach me how to do these things. I’d love to know but don’t have the capacity to do this myself!!
Apart from hacks they work with companies to create social appliances that connect to to a shared network infrastructure. He wants to learn his mum’s cleaning tricks and pass them off. He needs to build a new module that fits within existing technology. They were making new boards to do this and the prototype have just been submitted for approval. He won’t make a connected toaster but know’s how. He has, though, made a connected coffee machine (surprise… a developer that lives off coffee!!) There is a video of the coffee machine working but you have to wait 3 minutes for it to boil. He’s sparing us from watching that but it’s probably on Vimeo too.
Arduino is now a company but it’s all still open source. People still thing they’re crazy. They function in a fair hardware business model. Sharing.
Arduino – we do open stuff.
Check the Arduino site for more info
Education project http://cuartielles.com/verkstad/en/
Here’s the 2.8 rule. If you are trying to sell something to a company and if they don’t buy it then multiply the price by 2.8. Then when they sell it on they multiply by 2.8. Lots of money and room to wiggle your margin.
All done now… but he wants his Sony watch back. Now where did it go….