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Niwot, CO
Sparking A Passion For Electronics And Open Source

By TJ McCueThursday, November 20, 2014
Consumer, STEM

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One of the perks of traveling around the USA is the chance to meet people in person that you have only known by email, phone, or social media. As a researcher and journalist, I talk to a lot of companies. That’s part of how the 3DRV roadtrip got its start – asking what if we could go around and meet all the folks doing cool stuff with 3D technology. What if we could report on what they are doing and continue to spark the 3D renaissance, in some small way? What if we could talk with the makers, inventors, and designers to learn about what jazzes their creativity?

And one of the people I have long wanted to meet, in person, is Nathan Seidle, founder of SparkFun in Colorado. His company is bringing DIY electronics kits to the individual, to schools, and to anyone who wants to try their hand at tinkering with a circuit.

Nathan introduced me to his education team who has also taken nationwide trips to meet the young makers of the USA in the SparkFun RV. The education team shared with me how they are building curriculum, conducting workshops, and more in an effort to build up STEM/STEAM education. We talked about the power of free apps like 123D Catch and 123D Circuits and how we simply need to get more of these tools in the hands of students. I should mention that I first heard about SparkFun from another maker friend, Lynne Bruning, who creates eTextiles, or wearable technology. She is also a big Instructables member and a person who loves to share her knowledge with others.

As mentioned above, we asked: “What if we could talk with the makers, inventors, and designers to learn about what jazzes their creativity?” Well the answer is that if you talk and walk with such people, their passion and creativity will rub off on you and that’s a really good thing.

Plus, how can you not have fun talking to a guy who is wearing goggles like these?

I should also mention that SparkFun is a firm believer in open source technology. Firm might be an understatement. They are radically open source. All of their product designs are open and they believe that will encourage innovation and creativity. Nathan spoke at TEDxBoulder with a talk that speaks to his company’s commitment: How Open Hardware will Take Over the World.

Follow along at! #3DRV

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