Making Things Interactive

May 1, 2008

Reflections

Filed under: Assignments,Final Writing Assignment,Paul Castellana — paulcastellana @ 10:05 am

What I have found most interesting about this class is simply learning of the prevalence and accessibility of (as I believe Sid put it) this “culture” surrounding microcontrollers and sensors and making things interactive in general. Prior to this class, I was under the impression that work in this field was limited to those formally taught as engineers. I’d never have imagined that it was as accessible as it is. Now, I find myself constantly coming across everyday technology and thinking, “wow, I know how to make that.” As an economist, I find this accessibility particularly interesting because of the implications it has for innovation, which in the long run is most responsible for the improvement of people’s everyday lives. As more and more people are exposed to this field the overall source of technological innovation becomes greater and greater, extending far beyond formal engineers and into the hands of anyone with a computer and access to the internet. Simultaneously, the knowledge pool relevant to this field will grow tremendously as people share their work on the internet, as will components at the public’s disposal to work with.

I think that there is a growing trend of DIY and personalization that this field compliments perfectly. As the two become more and more intertwined, the commercial viability of microcontrollers and sensors will bring them into a new realm. Perhaps this is a stretch, but imagine if a major consumer electronics company such as Apple supplied and supported this technology in even more accessible and easy-to-use forms.

In terms of how the class will affect my future work personally, it has definitely dramatically altered how I will approach any future projects. I labeled myself as a woodworker at the beginning of the semester, but now I can’t imagine a project being very interesting without incorporating what I’ve learned in this class.

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