HANDS-ON kits offer great ways to learn about science and engineering. But the joys of making a small robot or a crystal radio set have long eluded those who can’t get past Step 2 in the instruction manual.
But now, even those without a wisp of natural geek in them may have a chance at success. That’s because Web-based instructions — often designed by hobbyists for other hobbyists — are now supplementing the often-confounding printed directions that come with such kits.
Bloggers who tinker are creating interactive tutorials, descriptive videos and step-by-step series of photographs that make it easier for nontechies to go forward confidently. Dozens of do-it-yourself Web sites, like Evil Mad Scientist, AdaFruit and iFixIt, also offer tools, components and kits of their own, many aimed at beginners.
Woo! The Times is writing about kits and sites that have great documentation, amazing!
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, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, 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.