Saturday, February 8, 2014

Robomancy: Technoccultist Joshua Madara on Arduino and the Future of Magick -Disinformation

Originally published February 8, 2014 via disinfo.com

2:30 a.m.
Four hours of trudging through circuit diagrams and forum posts that read like Chinese toaster manuals, trying desperately to figure out what “Arduinois.  I finally have a breakthrough realization: I may have reached the far end of my brain’s capacity to learn new things.

I am an idiot.  What a downer.

Luckily, I find a TED Talk by Massimo Banzi, an instructor at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea in Italy and co-creator of Arduino, an “open-source electronics prototyping platform,” which breaks it all down for me.  Through a haze of tears, I learn how a couple of nerds have managed to turn the world of interactive technology on its head while fooling around with toys and LED displays in their bedrooms.

From what Banzi says, Arduino has slowly and quietly been taking over our technological world since 2005, when he and four friends began developing a tool that would make it easier for his students to create their own interactive electronic inventions without having to be an engineer.
Basically, “Arduino is an open-source and easy-to-program controller for creating interactive objects and environments.”

Or at least that’s how someone much smarter than me explained it.
Seeing some actual devices developed by folks using Arduino made it a little easier to grasp.  Like the APM Copter, an autonomous drone with six rotors, or the txtBOMBER, a handy little gadget that “prints” graffiti on any flat surface in seconds.
One of my personal favorites (which immediately highlights my dweebosity) is the Laser Harp.  Trying to describe it would only take away from the experience of witnessing it, so I won’t even bother.

Oh.  And there have been other, smaller projects that use the Arduino for a brain, like ArduSat (a homemade satellite), 3D Printers, or the Large Hadron Collider.  Stuff like that.
The projects are usually open source, and you can easily look up how to build these things yourself.  There’s an entire “Maker” community (named after the DIY-themed Make magazine) dedicated to these sorts of projects.

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