Last night, students and parents listened as Richard Saul (below left) and Jonathan Salassi (below right) talked about an Arduino’s design and function.
An Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Anyone can use an Arduino to make interactive projects, and Richard and Jonathan both developed and brought Arduino-based projects to share with students.
“A micro-controller is a computer,” Jonathan emphasized, because it takes instructions from a developer for the “computer” to process. No bigger than a credit card, an Arduino enables “makers” to invent and create a wide variety of projects, from simple to complex.
Richard’s projects included a device to control a guitar’s sound level through an amplifier, and a temperature sensor. Through trial and error, Richard created a temperature-sensing device which took ambient temperatures, which then displayed on an small LDC screen and also produced a digital readout. Not all projects end in success, Richard reminded the students, but even so, there are lessons to be learned. That’s a reality all makers can relate to!
Jonathan’s Arduino project sprang from his love of gardening. He demonstrated his self-watering device which sensed the moisture level in the soil of his potted plants. He showed students that when the dampness fell below a certain level, he programmed his Arduino to open a valve connected by a tube to a water-filled recycled juice bottle releasing H2O to the thirsty plants. Then, as the moisture level increased, the sensor automatically shut off the water.
For more information about Arduinos, watch this TED Talk by Massimo Banzi, who helped invent the Arduino, a tiny, easy-to-use open-source microcontroller “that’s inspired thousands of people around the world to make the coolest things they can imagine — from toys to satellite gear.” Because, as he says, “You don’t need anyone’s permission to make something great.”
Visit Jonathan’s blog, which includes an overview of his presentation last night, at www.technicalexplorer.blogspot.com
Join us on Monday, February 2, 2015 for an exciting presentation on Arduino Programming by Jonathan Salassi and Richard Saul, both from FedEx Services in Addison.
Jonathan Salassi is a Technical Expert and Project Leader for Complex IT Solutions at FedEx Services. He has a passion for making that first started in grade school when he decided to take apart his parents VHS player to see what it was made of. From then on it was nothing but destruction and learning. In school he enjoyed studying physics, history and geometry, but he says the rest of school was a bit of a blur. After college, his goal was to travel the world and help companies and individuals with lesser technologies become more advanced and more efficient. He hasn’t yet found a company who wants to pay him to do that, so he’s been in the U.S. working on various IT related projects for the past 15 years. He enjoys making and working with technology, but never wanted be a programmer. However, over time, he’s learned to love it, and now he can independently create whatever he wants. Now, instead of just taking apart the VCR, he can turn it into something new!
Initially unprepared for college, Richard Saul became a lifetime learner via the night school route. He holds an Associate’s degree in Math, a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science (from California Lutheran University), and Master’s degrees in Accounting and Business Administration (both from UT Dallas). He has 33 years of computer systems management and development experience, with 24 years focused on point-of-sale systems engineering. He’s interested in information security and risk management, as well as music and machine perception. Mr. Saul currently works for FedEx Services as a Technical Principal (Business/Systems Analyst).