So I journeyed out to the New York Hall of Science in Queens, a site I remember from my childhood as a park of towering rocket ships and a massive great hall that celebrated space travel.
The one thing that is clear the moment you arrive at the Maker Faire is that the term ‘geek’ has gone mainstream. The sprawling campus of booths, tents, performances, and technology has its share of edgy Brooklyn-based performance artists. But the crowd was largely kids, families, and inventors. What Make Magazine calls “Makers.”
Clearly none of these Makers want to be pouring cement, or building cars. Rather, they want to be using a soldering iron or a computer keyboard to invent new ways to live, play, and work.
Among the trends I’d take President Obama to explore – the remarkable phenomenon that is the Arduino, an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino is a prime example of open-source technology fueling innovation abd learning. How mainstream is the Arduino? Well, it goes on sale at Radio Shack this fall. (http://www.arduino.cc/)
Make a robot friend with Adafruit’s CRICKIT – A Creative Robotics & Interactive Construction Kit. It’s an add-on to our popular Circuit Playground Express, FEATHER and other platforms to make and program robots with CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. Start controlling motors, servos, solenoids. You also get signal pins, capacitive touch sensors, a NeoPixel driver and amplified speaker output. It complements & extends your boards so you can still use all the goodies on the microcontroller, now you have a robotics playground as well.