Fifty years ago, the word “computer” had a very different meaning. Prior to World War II, the word referred not to machines, but to people (mostly women in order to save costs) hired as human calculators. During the war, military research spawned mechanical calculators, “computers” such as Colossus and ENIAC; afterward, IBM commercialized equally intimidating, multi-million dollar machines that required their own rooms. They shipped to some of the largest companies in the nation, where they were tended to by specialists. In the popular imagination they were recognized symbols of bureaucracy and dehumanization — the dictatorial Alpha 60 in Jean-Luc Godard’s Alphaville, for example, and the domineering EPICAC in Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano — and there was no such thing as a “personal computer.”
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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