It was a headline no self-identifying Maker could refrain from clicking: “3-D printing will explode in 2014, thanks to the expiration of key patents.” The news confirmed every wild hacker hope about the future of do-it-yourself manufacturing. Costs will fall, quality will improve. If you thought that your $1,500 MakerBot 3-D printer was cool, just wait until next year, when you will get your greedy hands on a $500 Chinese equivalent capable of fabricating widgets that are twice as nice.
So here comes the Third Industrial Revolution! A 3-D printer in every garage! That old mass production paradigm, where everything gets outsourced to the country with the cheapest labor? Busted! A new era of creative empowerment is just around the corner. Manufacturing has been democratized, and nothing will ever be the same.
Yep, more than a few container-ships packed to the gills with hype have accompanied the rise of 3-D printing and the “Maker economy.” But there’s a reason for that, as anyone who has spent time wandering through the excited hubbub of a Maker Faire knows.
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.