Arduino for beginners

14th and 15th of March

Two day Arduino course covering basics of platform, programming, electronics and participant led project work with an emphasis on physical interaction by Ed Devane and Kristian Skelly

€100 per person

Ed Devane is a musician and instrument builder. He has been using Arduino for various audio or instrument related purposes for several years, and has been aided and abetted by audio programmer Kristian Skelly. The two have worked together on several projects, with Devane designing and building hardware, and Skelly writing software. An example of this can be seen throughout the month of March in the Kiosk at People’s Park Limerick - an interactive music installation using mechanical musical instruments and electronic drums.

Day 1

Morning session 10am-1pm. Intro to Arduino, relationship between IDE and hardware, examples of Arduino projects, intro to programming. Participants will be asked to have Arduino installed on their laptops before the workshop starts, allow time for people who are having difficulty. Participants will be familiarised with the following code components:

  • Variables: ints, floats, booleans etc.
  • Functions: setUp and loop for the most part.
  • Conditional logic: if/else statements, for loops
  • Read / Write: digitalRead, analogRead, how this relates to voltages at IO pins
  • PWM: analogWrite
  • Serial communication: write to serial monitor, read serial from computer
  • Libraries: how to download, import and use libraries

Afternoon session 2-5pm. Electronics: going through each component and sensor in detail. Blink sketch with breadboarded LED, button, and different uses of resistors (series, pullup, pulldown, voltage divider). Discussion on fragility of Arduino, logic levels, using transistors and relays to drive bigger loads, protecting input pins, various ways of powering Arduinos.

Get participants to try each component themselves, following the schematics, breadboard layouts and code provided. Participants will be familiarised with component symbols, breadboards, power supplies, polarised parts etc.

Mechanisms: Levers, gears, pulleys, linkages - mechanical parts that can be attached to motors and solenoids to create movement.

Day 2

Morning Session 10am-1pm: Building on the previous day’s work, group will be split into teams of 3 or 4 (depends on numbers) and given exercises that require combining code examples and circuits, creativity and teamwork. For instance, use HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensor to turn on a light when something comes within 1 meter. This would involve one person programming / using the computer, one person setting up electronics, and another moving towards the sensor. It would be important to come up with exercises that involve everyone, and that preferably involve some movement and laughs.

Another example is get teams to make an intruder alarm using sirens, lights and sensors. They could set up booby traps in different rooms for teams.

Another exercise is make a “rhythm” with a solenoid using delay(). Each team could use solenoids intended for this purpose, and attach them to different objects in FabLab to make a soundscape.

Afternoon Session 2-5pm: Get teams or individuals to make a robot that responds to movement or light or other sensory input. Supply teams with different components such as gears cut from Kraftliner or MDF, wheels, string etc. Facilitators provide project guidance. Aim to use only combinations of the code covered on day 1 to avoid bottlenecks.

Participants can present their work to the group and explain their ideas, processes, problems encountered etc.

The workshop would be documented with photos, video and sound recordings appropriate to the activities at hand. This when presented online would act as useful promotional material for both FabLab and the facilitators.

Participants have two options: €100 for the workshop where they bring their own Arduino and breadboards, or for an extra €45 they get to use and keep a kit of Arduino, breadboard, sensors, servo etc that we’ll be using on the day.

You can book your place here