Sparkfun Inventor's Kits, a number of us boldly went where no DFL librarian had gone before: into the fascinating but brain-cramping world of Arduino:
Arduino is a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than your desktop computer. It's an open-source physical computing platform based on a simple microcontroller board, and a development environment for writing software for the board.
Arduino can be used to develop interactive objects, taking inputs from a variety of switches or sensors, and controlling a variety of lights, motors, and other physical outputs. Arduino projects can be stand-alone, or they can communicate with software running on your computer .
Luckily, we had as our guide, Kevin Osborn, engineer and Arduino enthusiast. He led our merry band of librarians, trustees, patrons, and teachers, through the jungle of code, into the swamp of breadboards, out onto the arid plains of switches, buttons and blinking lights. It was kind of perplexing, but as librarians, we are trained to conquer our fears, laugh in the face of logical complexity, and tame the errant and irrational.
I can't say that we arrived at the Promised Land of understanding and competence, but we are now able to tackle some of the projects and challenges in the Sparkfun guide book on our own.
We are hoping to build our competency and help library patrons construct some interesting interactive modules in the future. More to come on this exciting new front!