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WITHIN weeks of when Nissan first began delivering the Leaf to buyers last December, do-it-yourselfers were looking for ways to make the new electric car — an engineering marvel from one of the world’s leading automakers — even better.
Among those who applied their 21st-century engineering skills to tinkering pursuits that date to the dawn of automobiles was Gary Giddings, 69, a retired engineer and a passionate supporter of electric vehicles.
“At this point in my life, my goal is to spend whatever time I have trying to help E.V.’s become successful,” Mr. Giddings said. He is using his Ph.D. in electrical engineering, earned at the University of California, Berkeley in the free-speech 1960s, to correct some of the Leaf’s shortcomings and to squeeze more performance out of it.
Say hi to the new car modders.
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.