Inspiration

One of my friends was talking about her volunteering: teaching young girls how to work with hardware.

I had some experience in hardware. Problem is that even intro-level hardware like Arudino do not scale cheaply.

Electronics is the greatest LEGO set I've ever learned to use. I would consider it a shame if I can't share it with others.

This project is aimed at educators, teachers, crash courses, and anyone who wants to jump into hardware.

What it does

It is a $7 kit that teaches anyone the basics of hardware hacking: from how to set up an LED on a breadboard to using wifi/OLED displays/one wire protocols/creating web pages on hardware.

It is a small kit. You can earn electronics anywhere. This is an advantage over other kits that are bigger and more expensive. For comparison, Arduino UNO costs $23, and most beginner kits can cost upwards of $60~$99. Classroom kits can cost upwards of $500 to outfit a class of 10.

Shipping/transportation/storage is easy. All components can be packed and safely transported in a bubble envelope.

Everything is replaceable. All parts are generic and can be found by simply searching for the type of the part. There are multiple manufacturers selling each part. If you wish, you can build the kit yourself and follow along the tutorials. This means that the acquisition of hardware is distributed. This keeps costs low, and hopefully helps to boost growth in use.

How I built it

I put together components that I had lying around and adapted the tutorials for ULCK from examples/other code to provide a consistent framework for someone learning independently.

The advantage of writing up a set of tutorials is that the user's abilities are known and the style can be kept consistent.

Code is provided and broken down into parts for the user to understand instead of copying and pasting entire sketches.

The process of learning is incremental and combines various parts together over time. An example: light LED -> read sensor -> use sensor to light up LED -> use sensor to light up RGB LED.

Challenges I ran into

Not bloating the cost of ULCK.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Actually completing writing up the tutorials.

What I learned

Writing up tutorials is not easy.

What's next for ULCK

  • Field testing: Conduct testing with college students and improve ULCK
  • Implementation: Contact high schools and hackerspaces
  • Distribution: Developing a process to deliver ULCK to other places

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