10 PRINT "Hello World!"
20 GOTO 10
…a little programming joke there. Back in the mists of time when computers plugged into your TV and ran BASIC (the inspiration for the Raspberry Pi) we used to go into shops and type that program into the computers, run it and walk away. Of course, in those days, it was a little ruder than “Hello World” we got to print!
Today things have moved on, we now live in a world surrounded by technology and are enjoying an Electronics Renaissance. There was a period of time towards the late 90’s and early 00‘s when Electronics and Technology in general had become really boring. You could pick up any hobbyist electronics magazine and it would be the same old regurgitated projects: preamps, amps, amps for audiophiles, power supplies, oscillators, test gear. These were projects by engineers for fellow engineers. These were not going to excite. There was the odd micro controller project but it wouldn’t be doing anything “fun”. The options for commercialising designs was limited. Software too had joined the realms of large teams to do anything significant. Gone was the era when a lone programmer could make a commercially successful product.
Around the middle to late 00’s that all changed. Among the vast multitude of changes we had the development of the iPhone – bedroom programmers came back, the Arduino opened up electronics and programmers to engineers and non-engineers and artists alike, cheap sensors proliferated, manufacturers started to cut the price of development kits and evaluation boards, toolsets became free, 3d printers and laser cutters came down in price, PCB’s could be made in ‘pools’ cutting setup costs. Make magazine started and with it the crystallization of the Maker movement, companies like Sparkfun and Adafruit were born supporting these new Makers (myself included). And the best thing that happened? Projects became exiting, the possibilities suddenly became endless without a huge team and multi-million pound budget.
However, the barren years have left us with a deficit of young minds entering engineering. Governments talk of the need to get young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) – I also like to add Art to that to create STEAM. The majority of progress in the human race is through technological innovation.
I have never known a better or more exciting time to be getting into engineering than we have now. Our goal is to facilitate, inspire and help guide anyone interested in building technical things.
Welcome to the New Beginning!