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Arudino Hacking: Prototyping the Internet of Things

Jeremy Kemp

The subject of Jeremy Kemp’s dissertation at San Jose State University was student adoption of avatars for learning. He found that students are willing to accept a virtual environment as a learning system, but avatars are more appealing to women in the middle of their careers.

Benjamin Franklin was America’s first new media maker.  3D scanners and the internet of things are on their way up on the Gartner Hype Cycle.  3D printing is at its peak, and virtual worlds are largely past.  How will we define Web 3.0?  Here are some possibilities.

We are entering a maker environment.  The Espresso Book Machine is moving books to atoms, and the Internet of Things is emerging.  In the library, touch screens and scanners now allow users to check out their own books.  How do non-digital users become aware of e-books?  A voice could be triggered at the return slot advising the user about them.

Popular smart objects include QR codes, RFID, near-field communication, and augmented reality.  A community of people is out there trading objects.  Sifteo cubes are tiny computers that can be connected to a laptop to communicate and used for games, mainly for kids.  The cubes are the controls.  The littleBits toy consists of parts for a controller that can be assembled by kids.

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software that can be used to create interactive objects and environments.  It was used in a library to create a book with embedded micro-controlled circuits driving interactive illustrations. Microcontrollers use open source electronics to sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can control lights, motors, and other actuators.  The software, developed by MIT, is flexible and easy to use.  Using conductive thread, controllers can be sewn into clothes.  The Arduino programming language is based on Java.  Sparkfun Electronics sells a kit that lets users code a variety of applications.

3D printing takes digital things and makes them physical.  Google 3D Warehouse provides the content.  The printer extrudes plastic in various shapes to produce objects. Laser cutters are used to remove material from a block of plastic.  Using this, Kemp produced embroidery of a QR code on a piece of fabric.  One application of this technology in libraries would be to create physical representations of spaces in the design process.


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