In June of 2012, Italian engineer Massimo Banzi gave a TED Talk (featured above) about a microcontroller, a small, cheap and fully-programmable computer, which he and an international team of inventors created. The video shows how something small and simple can have a powerful impact on engineering and also endless possibilities for application to solve every day problems. This microcontroller, the Arduino, is changing the face of how we design, invent and innovate.
But the Arduino is just one in a series of amazing inventions created by the Maker’s Movement, a growing international community of kids, adults, students, teachers, novices and experts alike, all committed to designing, engineering and building customized projects for themselves, and sharing them with others.
One of the coolest parts of this Do-It-Yourself community is its commitment to open source, or making designs, programming, and techniques easily available to everyone. Banzi’s Arduinos, for example, have fast become a widely used programming tool because they have no restrictions and few limitations, and can be made and used by anyone.
Banzi notes that Arduinos allow all types of designers to "scratch their own itch," or customize the microcontroller to do any task or solve any problem. Whether you want to use the Arduino to invent a machine to feed your cats, monitor your house plants, or mute your TV, it's an amazing tool with infinite possibilities.
Interested in learning more about how you can get involved and make real your own innovations and designs? Be sure to visit our Wanger Family Fab Lab page for a schedule of workshops offered to the public. If you're near Evanston, IL this weekend, you can take part in MSI Fab Lab demonstrations at the Evanston Mini Maker Faire on Sunday.
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