In Hillside’s Arduino Club, members learn the basics of computer programming and a bit of electronics through a projects-oriented approach. They write firmware using the powerful Arduino platform to control simple circuits, using a microcontroller much like those present in every day electronic gadgets such as remote controls, cell phones and digital cameras. The use of flow-charts is emphasized to aid students in the software design process, and students translate those conceptual charts into executable code. The club members have developed and written software to perform a variety of tasks, from filtering button “noise”, to creating bike lights with multiple blink-pattern modes (and binary temperature sensor displays) and re-inventing the popular 1980′s memory game, Simon using a brilliant analog method for seeding a random number generator.
One student is independently developing a simple robotic sculpture for an art project (with an LCD displaying its eyes) and another is currently building a digital alarm clock from scratch (with temperature-induced error correction) with a binary number display which can be modified to control appliances.
The club is led by the upper-school math and physics teacher, Bradley Lignoski, who has found himself programming in several different languages during his years of studying math and physics during college and since. Brad is currently brainstorming about how he will fabricate an Arduino-contolled boost compensator mechanism for his home-made, turbo-diesel modification to his beloved 1981 Toyota diesel pickup truck. Armed with Arduinos , knowledge, and creativity, the sky is the limit!