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Learning from Hackerspaces

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Learning from Hackerspaces   – COLUMNS – Current Intelligence, Opening up the maker community at November’s DIY: Citizenship symposium in Toronto. Greg Smith reports

LAST MONTH Microsoft launched Kinect, a sophisticated peripheral device for the Xbox 360 gaming console that allows rich interaction through gesture and movement. Expanding on the capabilities of Nintendo’s Wii Remote, Kinect comes equipped with motion sensors, allowing gamers to play by moving their bodies rather than wielding traditional handheld controllers. When Kinect was released, DIY electronic kit retailer Adafruit Industries offered an X Prize-like bounty for the first individual to reverse engineer the device and develop open source software drivers. A week later, Spanish engineering student Hector Martin posted functional drivers online and a myriad of interaction designers and software artists are now freely exploring Kinect’s capabilities as a controller device. 


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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