But the type of microcontroller that is gaining favor rapidly for creative older children’s projects is known as an “arduino.” An arduino microcontroller is based on an “open source” (non-commercial, publicly-licensed) design, and many small companies have sprung up recently to fabricate arduinos and related step-by-step project kits and accessories. Free software for programming arduinos is available for most laptop computers, which then connect to the arduino to download programs.
For girls who might appreciate a very cool, geeky female role model in this traditionally male domain, check out Lady Ada. Lady Ada (a/k/a Limor Fried) is a recent MIT masters graduate who started her own company selling arduino-related kits with easy-to-follow online instructions.
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