Home Enhancements the TinkerTech Way with Our TinkerTechie, Gabe
Picture this: You are sitting at home all cozy on your couch after a long day. Phone in hand and favorite slippers on, you can’t shake the feeling that you are forgetting something. Did you remember to lock the door? Did you leave the light on in the basement? Are the plants watered? Is the dog still outside?
Gabe Kavun is sometimes inspired by these ideas. Since he’s begun tinkering at TinkerTech he says he sometimes finds himself thinking Is there something bothering me and can Arduino fix it? Many times the answer has been “Yes.” Gabe has used his knowledge of Arduino to build electronic devices that satisfy small needs around his home.
What is Arduino?
Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. People with little to no experience in programming or building electronics are able to use the platform to create items that can be of use to them. “It’s pretty accessible, even to a novice,” Gabe explains.
As a web designer, Gabe admits that electronics sort of scared him off. “A year ago I didn’t know what a transistor or resistor was, but in trying this it just clicked; it really isn’t very hard to learn.” Gabe started by looking at sample code and considers himself self-taught after checking out a how-to project at the Ann Arbor District Library. Then he took what he learned and started designing projects that he thought would be useful:A gadget that beeps when the dog needs to come in
Gabe didn’t want to hear the beep anytime someone was at the door, so he designed it to beep if a short sensor is tripped, but not a tall one. The dog can alert that he is ready to come in without a single bark.A device that alerts when mail and packages are delivered
Package delivery theft is something that is happening with more and more frequency as households turn to online purchasing. Gabe has a sensor in his mailbox letting him know when delivery happens. He can retrieve the package right away.An electronic monitor to help oversee his basement
Gabe has designed a basement monitor that can that reports all sorts of useful information, including motion, light, temperature, and humidity If the lights are on with no motion, Gabe gets a text that someone may have forgotten to turn them off. The environmental sensors constantly monitor for excessive moisture or concerning temperature fluctuations.
An automated plant watering system
TinkerTech will be offering a new workshop to help participants gain entry-level success with Arduino by designing an automated plant watering system for their home. Gabe will be teaching the two sessions of this workshop this fall. Click here for more details.
The future of Arduino
Gabe says projects that are possible using Arduino and other similar platforms are becoming more accessible every day. “I foresee a day where grade school kids will be designing EEGs just as regular school work.” He anticipates a time when medical advances are more easily attainable thanks to the availability and advancement of technology.Locally, Gabe hopes to teach other workshops and classes at TinkerTech based on area interest. He can design a class around a weather station, motion lights, or any ideas you might share. To recommend a class for an upcoming TinkerTech workshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org.