For anyone interested in Arduinos and the possibilities that technologies such as these promise then this film is well worth 30 minutes of your time. You get to find out about the history of the project and see some very interesting applications of the technology in action such as the 3D printer.
One of the more enjoyable aspects was the emphasis on teamwork and the enrolment of others with associated skills.
As so often with projects of any sort it, is easy to look back over its development with 20/20 hindsight and declare that there was an inevitable trajectory that dictated a successful outcome. In reality, happenstance and expediency are just as likely to be major guides along the path.
It was interesting to learn that although they had a great piece of hardware it was the addition of the USB connector that enabled the Arduino to really get shipped. Also, the decision to go open source, while noble in intent or not, was made to prevent the work from being buried in archives should a legal calamity take place.
We have written about Arduinos before in Using the Arduino: Tuning Thinkers Into Doers and Arduino: A Big Revolution in a Small Package. The latter made our ten most read articles of 2010. We regard its development and uptake has highly significant and relevant.
This is because, as the film shows so clearly in the maracas scene, you no longer have to be an electronics whiz just to get a few LEDs to light up. Or, in this case a whole screen filling and refilling with images according to how the maracas were shaken.
A competent but not necessarily technical person can have an idea and by using Arduinos and its associated programming language be able to express it in a reasonable short time at very little cost. There is a real magic in that.
Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Until the advent of technologies like the Arduino I had always assumed that the magic would be created by techies hidden from the sight of ordinary citizens. I never thought it would be the citizens themselves that would be capable of creating the magic.