Is it possible for non technical people to invent and create electronics based prototypes? Can it talk to the internet? Could it be a teddy bear, bag of dog food, or disco ball? Can it be done in two hours? These were some of the first questions asked of me when I started at the Moonshot Lab.
After building a few apps (the Eddie-O-Matic, Market Watch) with the spark core, I started thinking about creating a GUI visual programmer. This would allow just about anyone to connect a micro-controller to a recipe based service like IFTTT or Zapier. So I made it!
I held a few classes which were open to all Barkley employees. The first portion was a short introduction into electronics where students learned how resistors and LEDs worked. The next step was learning how to use the wild-thangs app. A quick overview of Zapier and then we hooked all the pieces together. Magic! Everything is now talking to the internet.
I was amazed at the creativity and diversity of the prototypes. Some of my favorites were:
- A bottle of sunscreen which schedules google calendar events which then remind you to reapply.
- A television remote with a siren activated from a mobile device.
- Sunglasses that light up when someone mentions you in a tweet.
It’s a great feeling to empower others to express their ideas. I really enjoyed teaching these classes and hope to do more in the future. We were even featured in the KC Business Journal.