Quin Etnyre walks to the front of a crowded room at Deezmaker 3D Printers and Hackerspace in Pasadena, California. He adjusts his laptop on the workbench, then looks up and addresses the class. “Thanks for coming out on a Saturday,” he says, his voice barely audible over the steady hum of servomotors. The students, 18 middle-aged men and preteen boys, look on as Quin straightens his MIT T-shirt and swipes an index finger across an iPod. The screen behind him flashes “Intro to Arduino Class.”
He explains to the group, which includes a toy maker, an engineer, and a high-school electronics teacher, that he’ll be showing them how to program an Arduino—a $30 microcontroller board that can convert sensory inputs into outputs, making objects interactive. “First I want to demonstrate some cool things I made that you can make too,” he says, reaching into a backpack. Two men stop whispering and turn toward him. Quin pulls out the FuzzBot, a bug-eyed, four-wheeled robot slightly smaller than a shoebox. Then he holds up a baseball cap with LEDs stitched into the fabric.
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.