The resources available to today's hobbyist (maker, geek, hacker, builder) are very exciting. There are microcontroller platforms such as Arduino and its clones combining additional functionality into various form-factors. Single-board computers such as Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black are used to control the outside world in complex ways. There are diverse sets of sensors, motors and connectivity modules that can be integrated with these units. It is possible to have your own or open source circuit PCB designs manufactured in small quantities through various companies. 3D printing and laser-cutting are used to make custom parts. Purchasing rare parts and getting DIY instructions and product literature online are easier than ever, if not trivial.
Of course, hobbyists have been building robots, R/C vehicles and electronics projects for a long time. However, the new development platforms and processes are becoming very easy to use, affordable and ubiquitous. Easier access to these resources is lowering the threshold for entry, and increasing the sophistication level of what is available to build with. There are many smart, creative and inspiring hardware projects using these resources, many of which bring the hardware and software worlds closer.I am hoping to explore these resources over time.
In my next post, I will write about a quadcopter I built recently.
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