Intro to the Arduino Entrepreneurial System


Published on

A talk about Internet of Things, Arduino, hackerspaces, and how our lives are changing via invisible technology.

Talk given at Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum, 9 Nov 2013

Published in: Technology
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Hello and Welcome!
  • Occasionally I write for Make magazine, the standard-bearer of this new “Maker movement” that includes Arduino. Several years ago I wrote the book on hacking the Roomba robotic vacuum. It was called “Hacking Roomba”. And in 2009 I cofounded CrashSpace, the first hackerspace in Los Angeles.
  • I’ve been involved in the Arduino community since 2006, and have produced a set of instructional material and Arduino-targeted hacking products. Spooky Arduino has been translated into six other languages and the designs of ScrewShield and the Wiichuck adapter are licensed to several electronics manufacturers.
  • But what I mostly focus on is my company ThingM. ThingM is a ubiquitous computing / Internet of Things device studio, an R&D lab, and a micro-OEM.
    ThingM primarily designs a range of RGB LEDs with attached controllers.
  • Here’s two examples of our research.
    WineM is a wine rack that knows what wine you have and illuminates the wine to indicate queries you give the wine rack (“show me the cabernets”, “what should I drink with this meal?”)
    Glowpull is a drawer pull that illuminate right before you grab it. It was an exploration of “jewelry for the home”.
  • We’re most famous for our range of “Smart LED” BlinkM products.
    They’re sort of a fundamental atom of ubiquitous computing, combining an RGB LED with a tiny microprocessor. The microprocessor encapsulates knowledge about color theory and how to drive LEDs.
  • Over the last year, we’ve had two successful Kickstarter campaigns for blink(1), a USB notification light that turns information on the Net or your computer into a multicolored light. We’ve sold over 10,000 blink(1)s and have seen some awesome uses of it we never imagined.
  • We’ve been thinking about what is now called Internet of Things for several years. We’ve been investigating imbuing everyday objects with computation. How does that change those objects? How does it change our relationship to them?
    Only in the last few years have we been able to explore some of these questions in detail.
  • Before the “Internet of Things” became a buzzword, we have glimmers of this perception -> computation -> networking cycle.
    Package tracking seems mundane but we now get near real-time updates of package trajectory. We can instill exception logic when a package deviates from its planned course.
  • Some cars automatically adjust their seats, mirrors, and other driver environment based on which keyfob has activated the car. Your car knows you and communicates to your seat.
  • Now that we all carry a high-bandwidth network gateway and high-resolution UI controller, our conception of IoT includes our smartphones as the spyglass and mediator into the secret life of machines.
    The Egg Minder tells you when your eggs are due to go bad and when to buy more.
    Attach Tile to important losable things and anyone with the Tile app will help find it.
    Nest is a thermostat that learns your behavior, adjusts for energy price changes.
    Egg Minder:
    Nest Thermostat:
  • from Moore, 2003, and Kuniavsky “Smart Things”
    How is this becoming possible and where is it going? It’s helpful to look at Moore’s Law. This is the version of the graph we’re used to seeing. “Every 18 months we see a doubling in chip performance”.
    But there’s another way to look at it.
  • from Moore, 2003, and Kuniavsky “Smart Things”
    Inverted, we see the per-transistor cost is dropping at the same rate. A given unit of computation is getting cheaper and cheaper.
  • We’re at the beginning of being able to think of computation as an additional material, rather than a fundamental aspect of a product.
    And the particular microcontroller on the right is the same type that’s used in Arduino.
  • So how does IoT fit in with Arduino? Arduino at its basic is a computer board with the same raw power as high-end CPUs of a few decades ago.
    The Arduino board is small enough to be embedded into most everyday objects and highly expandable with an ever-growing library of example code and plug-n-play add-on hardware.
    But most importantly, because it’s open source, a community has grown around it
  • Image courtesy of
  • Image courtesy of
  • BLE is a new extension to Bluetooth that has been appearing on newer smartphones and computers. It’s designed for low-bandwidth sensor applications and is perfect or IoT applications.
    There is a great new chip from Nordic Semiconductor, the nRF51822. It combines an ARM Cortex M0 core with a Bluetooth Low-Energy transceiver and is incredibly low-cost. Learning how to use it requires purchasing their dev kit, figuring out SDK and datasheet. Generally takes a real EE to get it working.
  • RFduino is based on that chip but gives you a complete solution, with several working examples that might approximate your project. Get an idea of the capabilities of the chip in an afternoon, mod it to be your prototype in another afternoon.
  • But all this Arduino stuff can get a bit confounding. And building a robust prototype requires tooling.
    This is where a hackerspace can help. Hackerspaces are generally communities of inventors and entrepreneurs who found out they benefit from having a common place to house their tools. And then they open the doors to newcomers so everyone is exposed to new ideas.
    I’m going to use CrashSpace as an example here, because it’s what I’m familiar with. Other hackerspaces are similar.
  • At CrashSpace we have the standard compliment of tools you’ll find at a hackerspace: laser cutter, 3d printers, drill presses, mills, grinders, bandsaws, oscilloscopes, soldering stations, and so on. And people who know how to use them all.
  • Like other hackerspaces, CrashSpace members run the professional gamut. Toy inventors, CG animators, aerospace engineers, artists, MBAs, students, teachers, and more. If there’s something you don’t know, just ask and chances are someone is an expert in the field.
    And that’s not even counting the regular workshops and classes.
  • You might even get help building your project.
    photo courtesy Sean Bonner :
  • Intro to the Arduino Entrepreneurial System

    1. 1. Intro to the Arduino Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Or, How to Hack your way to Fun & Profit Caltech Entrepreneurs Forum 9 Nov 2013 Tod E. Kurt
    2. 2. What I’ll be talking about ■ Internet of Things ■ Arduino ■ Hackerspaces Not just buzzword bingo, some cool things behind each of these
    3. 3. Who I Am
    4. 4. My Arduino work Spooky Arduino ScrewShield Wiichuck adapter
    5. 5. The Day Job
    6. 6. Technology Sketches WineM GlowPull
    7. 7. BlinkM Smart LEDs
    8. 8. blink(1) USB notification light
    9. 9. Internet of Things Perception + Computation + Networking inside everyday objects might be aware of location, people, objects might be on the Internet, might on totally private Net might be stand-alone or use a “gateway”
    10. 10. Internet of Things Examples of proto-IoT My Fedex package blogs to me
    11. 11. Internet of Things Examples of proto-IoT My car seat remembers who I am
    12. 12. Internet of Things Where we are at today Egg Minder Tile Nest
    13. 13. Moore’s Law the graph we are used to seeing
    14. 14. Moore’s Law, also per-transistor cost of CPUs
    15. 15. Information Processing as Material 1989: $900 2009: $0.47 33 MHz, 20 MIPs 20 MHz, 20 MIPs We are headed towards computation being a nil cost add-on
    16. 16. Arduino What is it? ■ A microcontroller board ■ A collection of add-ons (code & hardware) ■ An open source application for Mac / Windows / Linux ■ A community
    17. 17. Arduino What is it? ■ But most importantly, it is: ■ a community-focused way of encouraging rapid-prototyping “What’s the quickest way to solve this problem?” not: “What’s the cheapest / smallest / most efficient way to solve this problem?”
    18. 18. Arduino Boards Explosion of different form-factors
    19. 19. Arduino Shields “shields” = stackable add-on boards for sensors, actuators, communication, etc. “317 shields from 125 makers, and counting!”
    20. 20. Arduino Software Simple but not limiting Arduino Eclipse for AVR
    21. 21. Arduino Community Forums
    22. 22. Arduino Community Wikis
    23. 23. An Example “Location-aware motion-detecting music player” motion detector + Arduino + GPS shield + MP3 shield
    24. 24. An Example “Location-aware motion-detecting music player” !!! Working prototype in an afternoon
    25. 25. Another Example Prototyping with a new technology, like BLE Nordic nRF51822 Bluetooth Low-Energy System on Chip Dev Kit: $100, Windows only
    26. 26. Another Example Prototyping with a new technology, like BLE RFduino Starter kit: $39 Win + Mac
    27. 27. Arduino as a Hardware Lingua Franca ■ No need to know the details for the common-case or to hack perturbations ■ Use it as a way of describing product topologies ■ If new tech exists, likely an Arduino example for it
    28. 28. Hackerspaces Why? ■ Rapid-prototyping tool repository ■ Expertise repository ■ Community
    29. 29. Hackerspace Tools 3d printers? laser cutters? mills? drills? scopes? Yes.
    30. 30. Hackerspace Expertise Need expert advice? Come here
    31. 31. Hackerspace Community Like-minded individuals can help solve problems or help prototype your project
    32. 32. Hackerspace Community Helped many successful projects
    33. 33. Arduino + Hackerspaces = Try Out Things Fast ■ Arduino provides a huge standardized repository of extant code and hardware ■ Hackerspaces provide tools, expertise, & friends to help out ■ Using both you can rapidly iterate new ideas ■ Rapid iteration necessary to experiment with latest Internet of Things technology
    34. 34. Thank You ■ @thingm / @todbot ■ ■ ■