EnVision Workshop

EnVision Workshop

Topic 1: Introduction to the Maker Revolution

My own introduction to the Maker Revolution came about several years ago, all in one day while I was browsing the internet. I can't now for the life of me recall what it was I was looking for, but in a matter of just a couple of hours I found myself immersed in a world that, until then, I was completely unaware of. This world has since then transformed my life and my way of thinking. Here below, I have recreated in a few steps the path of links that I followed that introduced me to the Maker Movement and the Maker Revolution.

First, I stumbled upon the invention that unlocked a locked in artist.

A quick search led me to the open source eye tracker, EyeWriter described in the video above. I thought, wow, I could do that.

Then I stumbled upon another open source eye tracker: openEyes.

Then I thought, I wonder if there is an easy way to control a motor? I knew I needed a motor controller to do that. My next search led me to Arduino. Wow, I thought, where can I buy one of those (in the USA)? I found them on Adafruit, Amazon and SparkFun. They were all over the place. In addition, the wealth of information and extensive resources on Adafruit and SparkFun, including all the tutorials, was a revelation to me. To find where you can buy an Arduino in your own country, just do a Google search on 'Arduino' - they are sold just about everywhere now.

Well, that's nice, I thought, but how do I control an Arduino? I discovered that it can be done with the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE), through Matlab or the Processing programming language. What's even more amazing is that Processing is open source and free - entirely created by a community of programmers and made freely available for all.

Great, I thought, but how do I learn to write the code to control an Arduino? Well, I quickly found all the instruction I needed through the Arduino software or Matlab or Processing. Further, I discovered that the Processing programming language is very similar to the Arduino programming language.

Then I thought, so what are Arduinos being used for? I soon discovered that they are being used for just about everything!
I also discovered that even young kids are building electronic circuits too using things like LittleBits and that this also can be controlled with the Arduino programming language and with Processing. Then I also found that there is a wealth of information and projects that people have created with Arduinos on Instructables.

Then I thought there must be some interesting books to read on this? After a short search I found and ordered:
Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to Make (Just About) Anything
by David Lang

This is a fascinating read about how David Lang, after being laid off his job became a Maker and founded OpenROV, a company that makes and underwater exploration remote operated vehicle for underwater exploration.

Then subsequently, I ordered a whole slew of other related books on the Maker Movement. I also found that there is a great magazine on the Maker Movement called Make: and that you can sign up to receive their newsletter.

I then found some other inspirational online projects such as how a French designer and sculptor, Gael Langevin, developed an open source robot called InMoov that can be 3D printed on a home 3D printer and is now being widely used around the world, including in engineering programs.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is much, much more to discover out there and the best way to learn about it is to become a Maker yourself and to become a part of the Maker Revolution.

Go to Topic 02