Feeling Dangerous? This Class Is For You

Check out a new class: "Processing the Danger Shield"

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It seems like every week, we are adding new classes to the SparkFun curriculum. Today, in fact, we are hosting an Exciting XBee Class! But that's not the point of this post - this post is to talk about a new workshop called "Processing the Danger Shield." This class takes place on February 4th, 2012 from 9 AM to 5 PM right here at SparkFun HQ.

The Danger Shield is a great little Arduino shield with a bunch of interesting gadgets on it. It has three slide potentiometers, a couple LEDs, some push buttons, a photocell, a temp sensor, an 8-bit shift register, a capacitive touch pad, and more. It's a lot of fun to play around with and has a million and one uses.

In this new class, we'll explore how to use SparkFun’s Danger Shield to show how a microcontroller can be used as an interface for a computer program. You will learn the basics necessary to create graphical interfaces, data logging visualizations, games and animations using the free programming environment called Processing. Processing is based on Java so you will learn 21st century programming skills that are immediately transferable to college and the workplace.

By the end of the day, students will understand how to use analog and digital sensors as inputs to effect something on the computer screen and how to use the computer as input to effect physical outputs in the real world, such as LEDs. Due to the heavily supported community nature of Processing, once the basics are understood, a whole new world of creation and learning are available. Go to the class listing to sign up! We hope to see you there!

Comments 72 comments

  • neurdy / about 12 years ago / 10

    Just wanted to let everyone know that we are currently demoing a system for recording our workshops and will hopefully be able to offer the recorded versions soon! Stay tuned!

    • TLAlexander / about 12 years ago / 3

      You guys should really record the setting-up of the recording system so that others can learn how you guys set up your recording system.


      • But then you need to record the setting up of the recording system that records the setting up of the recording system so that others can show others how to set up a system to record the set up of a recording system...Scratches head...Yeah i think i said that right.

        changes name hides with TLAlexander

    • Bigsby / about 12 years ago / 3

      FINALLY THANK YOU! Yes I did scream that!

    • Leon239 / about 12 years ago / 1

      YESSSSS! thank you.

  • LC / about 12 years ago / 8

    Hi guys. SFE is actually going to be doing an East Coast tour in April. We will be teaching soldering at USASEF in DC as well as teaching other classes at various universities and hackerspaces. The tough part is getting people to commit by buying the hardware far enough in advance so that we can put together all the rest of the moving parts long enough beforehand. If this East Coast tour goes well we will continue to offer them as our Department of Education is able to.

    • Emotion / about 12 years ago / 1

      Cool. Count me in if you guys do anything in Atlanta. We have Georgia Tech, Georgia Polytechnic, Georgia State, and Freeside Atlanta all here.

    • Sacman / about 12 years ago / 1

      Do you have an itinerary yet?

      I get DC but where else are you going to be. We can't buy ahead if we don't know where you will be.

      I live about 2 hours north of the ATL which I would think would be a good location for a class or two or three or...

    • ThinkerT / about 12 years ago / 1

      May I suggest Portland, Maine? I know a couple people who would definitely go!

  • WHY?!?! WHY MUST COLORADO BE ON THE WEST COAST?!?!?! Edit: Near the west coast... Side... Sort of...

    • Erik-Sparkfun / about 12 years ago / 5

      West Coast?

      • philfromseattle / about 12 years ago / 6

        because to a New Yorker (who lives at the center of the universe), everything west of New Jersey is on the "West Coast"

        • Patrick D / about 12 years ago / 2

          LOL! An american telling another american he thinks he lives in the center of the universe! :P

        • That is sooo... That is such an old stereotype... Thank you for another insult...

          • Erik-Sparkfun / about 12 years ago / 3

            I don't think that was really an insult. Also, England is closer to being on the Mediterranean than Colorado is to being on the West Coast. Just saying :)

            • baum / about 12 years ago / 3

              But distances in Europe aren't proportional! GIven any point on the Continent, driving ~200 miles in any direction will put you underwater or at a border crossing. Go 200 miles in the US, and you're in the next state (or the same one, sometimes...)

            • Jamster / about 12 years ago / 1

              Wooooop!!! England!!!!!

      • EvilGenius121 / about 12 years ago / 4

        I think meaning more westerly than the east coast :)

    • Comrad_Durandal / about 12 years ago / 4

      ...because you fail at geography?

      • I meant the westy-coasty SIDE-y bit... Thanks for the insult.

        • Sleepwalker3 / about 12 years ago / 2

          You were just thinking ahead to when global warming causes the sea levels to rise to such a point that the new coast will be around Boulder somewhere right? - Stick with that one, it gives you a good excuse ;)

        • I guess if you have to decide between west or east, I would go for west.

    • Member #202960 / about 12 years ago / 2

      I am living in Turkey, and you guys are from other side of the world for me:(

    • MattM. / about 12 years ago / 2

      because sparkfun invented a teleporter, problem is the ensuing space-time overload destroyed the device as well as all research, and has since made Colorado swap places with California.

  • Sam R. / about 12 years ago / 3

    Any East Coast supporters??

    • DMAC / about 12 years ago / 1

      I live in Upstate New York (Rochester). I would go if they brought a class to anywhere in New York.

    • Madbodger / about 12 years ago / 1

      I'd teach an east coast class, probably at a hackerspace somewhere.

    • CrazyCreator / about 12 years ago / 1

      totally, i live in north jersey and would love to see a sparkfun class near here

      • Young Maker / about 12 years ago / 1

        Washington (DC) baby! we could use some spark out here.

    • Leon239 / about 12 years ago / 1

      I would go

  • buddhafw / about 12 years ago / 2

    You guys should come do some classes in Indiana, you know split the east/west difference right down the middle...

    • MikeGrusin / about 12 years ago / 2

      I attended a seminar in Denver once where the presenter explained: "Denver's in the middle of nowhere... but it's close to a lot of other places in the middle of nowhere."

    • Shadowkitfox / about 12 years ago / 1

      Yep, Indiana would be nice!

    • bdin / about 12 years ago / 1

      I agree!

  • LC / about 12 years ago / 1

    Hi again guys, there was a lot of response to my previous post about SparkFun Education going mobile. We would love to come visit you all, but first we have to figure out what that will look like! This trip is a two or three week stint that is a small prototype version to see if this idea is feasible. We're trying as hard as we can to get classes materials, videos and instructors out to as large a portion of the earth as possible. But that means we have to have proof of concept first. If all goes well you will read a re-cap and we will open up the discussion in a larger way. If all doesn't go well... we'll talk about what failed so if you try something similar you can learn from our mistakes! Thanks for the interest and support guys, it keeps us plugging away.

    • Member #275326 / about 12 years ago / 1

      why dont you put your stuff on youtube- especially for SF specific equipment (danger board)- people will be 'forced' to buy it; and people can learn along at home- and at their own pace- which would be sweeet!!

      On another note- anyone near CT (greater waterbury) that is in a hackspace or something??

  • Manwolf / about 12 years ago / 1

    I live in Florida which is in a different Universe altogether. DC is about just as far as Denver. Come see The Mouse some time.

    • neurdy / about 12 years ago / 1

      I'm from Florida and can assure you that the SparkFun Dept. of Education will not ignore the South!

  • Lowlight / about 12 years ago / 1

    Someone already mentioned Adafruit but maybe you met someone over at Think Geek that could be a Sparkfun Certified Instructor in the DC area.

    I think an instructor training class would be a really good thing to work on. That way you could start training people up to go out and teach Sparkfun classes at their local hacker/maker spaces.

    I'm working with a bunch of guys to start up a new hacker/maker space in the Northern Virginia area and teaching classes is something we're really interested in.

  • PHJ / about 12 years ago / 1

    And please come to the medeival town of Appingedam (netherlans). We need tutorials too.

  • Member #275326 / about 12 years ago / 1

    I just bought one of these and am a relative n00b with this stuff and would really like a class on it. It would be sweet if you guys posted this class online :D

  • JD Roy / about 12 years ago / 1

    In Montreal and on foot. Damn. Has someone built up a portal gun kit yet?

    • Reliability is an issue still. Can't always get the orange side to go where I want it to. Accidentally sent my dog to the neighbors once (i was aiming for the basement) :)

  • ThinkerT / about 12 years ago / 1

    So... This is a class about Dangerous Prototyping? Sorry to plug another site, but this gave me a laugh.

  • doobie / about 12 years ago / 1

    is that glowy globe just a balloon or something you sell?

    • frnk / about 12 years ago / 1

      I think it's just a ball being used as a diffuser for the usual 3-color LED project. ... Except that I only see 3 wires going to it instead of 4. Hrmmm....


      • baum / about 12 years ago / 1

        bi-color LED...?

        • Jamster / about 12 years ago / 1

          bi-colour LED would only be 2 wires, tri-colour LED prehaps...

          • Kevin Vermeer / about 12 years ago / 1

            No, a bi-color LED would be 3 wires.

            Almost all multi-color LEDs are wired in parallel. It just makes the driving circuitry easier. One node (either anode or cathode) is connected together between both (for bi-color) or all (for RGB) of the LEDs on the die, and the others are independent.

            I suppose you could make a tri-color LED by connecting all three in series to end up with three nodes. Your new challenge is to create a driving circuit to turn these LEDs on and off.

            • EvilGenius121 / about 12 years ago / 1

              well, there are "bi-color" leds with 2 wires, but its based on current flow (usually current flows one way- led green, current flows reverse- diode = red)

              • MikeGrusin / about 12 years ago / 1

                Jamster and Evil are correct. Two-lead bi-color LEDs are very useful, since red and green are important status colors. Hook them across two I/O pins and you can easily get red and green (or mix to yellow with a bit of clocking).

          • EvilGenius121 / about 12 years ago / 1

            I know some leds that have only 3 wires but do lotsa colors (Radioshack 7 color led)

  • @EvilGenius Thanks for being nice and not jumping on me for a little confusion in the midst of my despair :)

    • EvilGenius121 / about 12 years ago * / 2

      Haha- no prob. I live in Idaho and have had a heck of a time describing it to people overseas. We have some friends, and I told them I live in Idaho. Of course, they have no idea at all where that is. Usually, any given person overseas only knows where New York and California are. So pretty much they think I live on the beach now because I told them Idaho is "near" California :)

      Anyways, how much can a homeschooler be expected to know? (total jk. I am homeschooled and people think I am special ed or crazy when I tell them. Then I show them my grades ;) )

      edit: BTW did you get any freeday awesomeness? I didnt, but had a heckofatime doing CAPTCHAS. I think my WPM went up at least 50....

      • About free day, yeah. I was going to do a few more CAPTCHAs and then quit, but suddenly, wait, that is not what it usually says... "You win! Redirecting..."?!?!?!?!?! YESSSSSS! I had to use Economy shipping though. :( eh whatever.

        I've been pretty lucky with not getting "the funny look"... Ah homeschooling is great. I don't care if anybody stares at me funny, cause I can tell them my P.A.S.S. Test scores if I want. (off the charts) BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        • EvilGenius121 / about 12 years ago / 1

          Lucckkkyy! Also: just a tip for further internet use (I assume youre in 6-7th grade) If you make a mistake (east coast, for example) on the internet- dont take snarky replying comments as an insult. Unless they seem really insult-ish, its just probably some guy trying to make a joke at it. Trust me, it really doesnt pay to start a flame war :) What did you buy?? I wish I won, I really need some $$ for a solar charger/battery I am working on. Right now its on hold until I can find time to work or get a loan (about a 1% chance of happening) from my parents. Anyways- cheers!

      • Thimplum / about 12 years ago / 1

        Haha... I'm home schooled too, and WAY ahead of my public school counterparts (Honestly, at my grade, most of them don't know how to spell "counterparts").

        • EvilGenius121 / about 12 years ago / 1

          Lol- First of all- welcome to the site!!! Second of all: totally agree!!! Its so funny, once I ended up explaining a math concept to a person in HS, when I was only in like 6th grade. I just read the book and understood it :) Of course, it wasnt trigonometry or anything , but still! :)

      • _hunternet93 / about 12 years ago / 1

        I called it quits after about 400 attempts on free day. I did enter the text-based browser picture contest though. I also was homeschooled, I've gotten a few interesting responses when I tell people...

        • I'm starting to see a trend in Homeschoolers and Being incredibly smart. (How many teenagers do you know who know what an Arduino is, let alone how to program it.) By the way I was offered an Invitation to start Community College at 15, the only reason I didn't was because I didn't have enough HS Cred's before I even thought of getting College Cred's. Besides HS is just a formality.

        • EvilGenius121 / about 12 years ago / 1

          I think I did about 500 or so. I had finals that week, otherwise I probably wouldve tried more. Anyways- guess I'll actually have to (gasp) WORK! to earn some money. :) What kinds of responses? I havent exactly finished my education yet (Highschool), but I usually get either the special ed response or people think I am a genius. To be honest, though the latter isn't exactly true I like it over the other response :) Anyways- homeschool is ok so far.... Think I'm gonna go to the local HS next year to work more with electronics though!!

          • _hunternet93 / about 12 years ago / 1

            Usually I get an "Oh, OK" sort of response followed by a "That's weird" sort of stare. There's a growing homeschool community in my area that's raising awareness, so recently people don't look as perturbed when I tell them I was homeschooled. The high schools (actually most schools for that matter) around where I live do not have very high standards, drugs sadly common there too. During my last two years of high school, I took some classes at a homeschool co-op, which improved my english and science skills greatly.

  • Sam R. / about 12 years ago / 1

    Is there a way that Sparkfun could have classes on the East Coast? The classes that Sparkfun gives are amazing and I think should be available to everyone in the US (worldwide is a little bit of a stretch). I understand that it would be hard to fly people + parts + machines and find a facility out here, but Sparkfun, you have tons of people begging you to do classes out here (me included). You can be 90% sure that you would fill a class and spread Sparkfun-mania to more people out here. Why not give it a try? Just my two cents. -Sam P.S. I would be glad to help out as someone living in the East Coast..... :)

    • Maybe not SparkFun, but Adafruit would probably be the people to ask as they are based in NYC.

  • MostThingsWeb / about 12 years ago / 1

    Can Free Day winnings be applied to these classes? I'm more interested for the sake of others, since I live on the other side of the country :(

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