Craft Enrichment adds Arduino

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The Appalachian Online

Sammy Hanf

Appalachian State University is adding a four-week class on Arduino programming to its Craft Enrichment Program with future plans to establish a MakerSpace for students in the Belk Library.

Arduino is an microcontroller that has become popular with DIY communities due to its low cost and the open source software it uses. With the free software, the unit can be programmed to operate machinery through user-defined inputs.

Jeff Church, the instructor for the course, finds the technology exciting because it lowers the barrier of entry for people who are interested in electronic projects but don’t have much experience.

“You don’t need a doctorate degree in electronics to use it,” Church said.

Attendees of the session held Monday all had different ideas on what to use the technology for, from using it in the lab to creating an interactive installation art piece.

“I just love seeing what students make,” said Scott Rice, coordinator of technology services at Appalachian State.

Rice said he is passionate about his position because he enjoys seeing what students come up with.

A student member of the Technology Services Desk, Hunter Irving, used Arduino to coax music out of old floppy drives–an idea he got online from the large community of Arduino users.

Accounting for the interest in creative platforms like Arduino, Rice pointed to the large interest in reinventing old technology. He promotes that on campus because he believes it encourages creative and critical thinking.

Rice said he is planning on expanding the Department of Technology Services by offering classes and forming clubs. His long term goal is to create a MakerSpace on the lower level of the library where students can use cutting edge technology to test and share their ideas. Registration for the spring session begins Dec. 1.

Arduino boards are available to check out for up to a week at the media desk on the lower level of the Belk Library.

Story by: Sammy Hanf, Intern News Reporter