Students Write How-To’s for Arduino Microcontrollers

An essential part of the Applied Science and Engineering Class is reflecting on the process involved in creating a project in such a way that others can reproduce the project. Honors students in the class created how-to’s using the Instructables Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project-sharing platform.  Collectively, their eleven projects have already received more than 9600 views from Instructables users since they were posted earlier this week–a sign that the students not only created compelling projects, but that their how-tos are easy to follow. One project in particular, How to Do Arduino-Controlled Time-Lapse Photography by Holden Leslie-Bole ’14, was featured by Instructables editors on the homepage. Holden was awarded a free premium membership in recognition of the success of his project.

Students spent three weeks learning how to use and create with Arduinos, single-board microcontrollers that make the use of electronics in multidisciplinary projects more accessible through an open-source electronic prototyping platform.  Projects ranged from Arduino-controlled temperature sensors to a smart heart monitor, to a dubstep piano keyboard. Students kept journals of their process, diagrammed their circuitry, wrote carefully commented code, and gave presentations of their work to conclude the project.

David Otten, course instructor, outlined the goals of the microcontroller project for the students at the outset:

The goal of this project is to learn how to use microcontrollers (hardware and software) and what sorts of applications they are useful for.  To this end, you have been asked to come up with a microcontroller application that interests you.  It must respond to the environment and so should have at least 1 input and 1 output.  Since we have a wide range of experience in the class, the complexity of your project should reflect your skill level.  The focus of this project should be on the circuit and the code (80-90% of your time), not the mechanical aspects – simplify components if you need to (e.g. “this piece of cardboard represents my Levelor blinds” or “this switch represent my toilet flusher”).

Explore their projects here: