Each month, St. Louis hackerspace The Disruption Department’s seven young maker Fellows convene at Hackdays, which are 5 hour-long introductions to a different sector of mechanical, electrical, or computer engineering.
Our April event was hosted at a local co-working space in downtown St. Louis called T-Rex. The hosts, co-founders of a company here called Evtron, led us on a tour of their fantastic working spaces, and then shared stories about how they came to work in technology (spoiler: they were young makers who worked a lot on projects they loved outside of school).
Fellows then went through a brief introduction to Arduino, which included understanding the blink sketch, modifying the blink sketch at different rates, and then hooking up a potentiometer to learn about how inputs work on the serial monitor. Each fellow was then given an RC car, which they were encouraged to open up and solder into the PIC, controlling forward, backward, right, and left turn actions with the Arduino. Unfortunately, limited soldering experience meant that many of the PICs were melted by the soldering irons, but they had a good time seeing beyond the intended use of the toys, and using their programming/circuit experience to bear on a new type of project. We plan to work on Arduino again for our next Hackday in May.
Here are some snaps from the day:
Gregory Hill liked taking things apart, playing video games, memorizing sports statistics, and eating a lot as a kid. He studied Latin American Popular Culture History at the University of Kansas from 2004-2008. From there, he began teaching Spanish in a North City St. Louis K-8 school and pursuing a Masters Degree in Foreign Language instruction for the University of Missouri – St. Louis. He finished his thesis on the role video games play in 2nd language acquisition in 2010.
As an adult, he’s interested in a much more humanistic approach to integrating pedagogy and cutting-edge technology, providing connections for people to make things, making school more like real life, and eating a lot. He is the co-founder and project lead of the St. Louis makerspace The Disruption Department, and you can find him on Twitter @mrsenorhill and on his personal blog at Medium.