The Joy of Blink.ino - Shining a Light on Working with Hardware

It's easy to think that the Arduino is a culmination of brilliant engineering and keen business acumen predicting the rise of the maker movement. But it isn't - it's a not particularly fancy piece of hardware and you can legally copy and even resell it for free. Yet a small, international team of students, artists, and engineers created a product that appealed to thousands of people that had no idea what a microcontroller was. It took years for the chip manufacturers to figure out what was going on, and it largely took Arduino sales depleting the world of a particular chip used on Arduino boards before the established industry noticed.

In this talk we'll take a step back and start with what a microcontroller does, whether the Arduino is a microcontroller, and why anyone would need one. We'll see how beyond establishing a hardware spec, Arduino grew a community and a movement by opening up the dark art of electronics to those previously excluded.

  • Becky first found her love of electrical engineering through the Arduino. However, working with hardware can get expensive, so instead of getting a real job, she helped start a couple companies that support the habit. Becky is a founder of Codasign and Anti-Alias Labs. Codasign is an arts technology education company that teaches adults and kids how to use technology in creative projects. Anti-Alias Labs is where Becky puts her technical expertise into practice. She completed her PhD in acoustics and spatial audio with the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary, University of London in 2010 and now combines signal processing with physical computing. She has put GPS into hand-cobbled leather shoes and is currently working on turning the Brooklyn Bridge into a musical instrument.