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Home for the Holidays from East Africa

Help support a former SparkFunion who's heading to Uganda!

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When I was at SparkFun, I helped a lot of people learn about electronics. I created education materials to help teachers and those wonderful, slightly crazy people who run things like robotics summer camps and University robotics labs. It was a blast.

Now I’m one of those crazy people, running a two-week robotics camp in Africa, as well as a pursuing a couple other projects, including automating some farm equipment and running Uganda’s first public SMD soldering workshop with the Fundi Bots and the Ugandan Institute for Research and Instrumentation.

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Girls at Gayaza High School in Uganda get their first opportunity to work with microcontrollers.

I’m also going to be writing some open-source curriculum to complement CNC mills like the Othermill. The Schoolin' with Booleans curriculum, which I plan to release under a Creative Commons license, teaches breadboarding, basic circuitry, capacitance, transistor-based logic gates, boolean logic, PCB design (with Fritzing, Eagle or KiCad) and soldering (PTH or SMD). Add S/R latches, oscillation, multiplexers and XOR, and the curriculum becomes more and more foundational and useful for talking about things like microprocessors, clock signals and how digital memory works at the electrical level.

Without the computer skills necessary to pursue an information age job, Ugandans will not be in a position to fill the jobs foreign technology firms will bring to their nation as Africa becomes more featured in the 21st century tech boom economy.

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We always wear our SparkFun safety glasses in Uganda.

I’ve already spent some time teaching Fundis, school children, engineers and others in Uganda. This third return trip I’ll be teaching more than ever, and it’s my hope to receive funding to leave hardware with all the people I’m teaching, as well as extend my stay for one month in order to reach at least seven more schools, leave hardware with the farmers I am helping, and spend two weeks teaching in Rwanda as well.

I want to teach East Africans PCB design, wireless, Bluetooth configuration, voltage dividers, graphical user interfaces and surface mount technology soldering. SparkFun has been kind enough to not only back me, but they’ve also allowed me to reach out to you on the holiest of platforms - their blog. So if you’re doing well this holiday season, and the work I’m doing sounds like something you approve of, please consider helping me out by backing my Kickstarter; every little bit helps.


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