Robert Smith, a 19-year-old in a gray T-shirt and camouflage pants, climbed the stairwell of the Joseph Miccio Community Center in Red Hook, scaled a ladder at the top floor and jumped onto the roof. He soon found what he was looking for: bright, white plastic boxes, each about the size of a brick, some with little antennas sticking out. Mr. Smith pulled a laptop from his backpack and got to work, tending to the nodes of the Red Hook mesh, an ambitious plan to link up a local wireless digital network across the neighborhood.
With the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway just ahead and the Lower Manhattan skyline in the distance, Mr. Smith worked on keeping the digital conversation going. He was examining two devices on the roof while wirelessly conversing with a minicomputer a few hundred feet away on the roof of a school that had a high-speed Internet connection.
Though these white boxes, spread across various rooftops in Red Hook, may appear haphazard, or guerrilla even, the Red Hook mesh is actually in the vanguard of wireless networking. Unlike the Internet available at work or at home, which typically arrives through a wire and follows a carefully plotted path from Internet provider to user, a mesh network is improvised — and remarkably resilient.
As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email email@example.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.
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.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
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