The Diyode CodeShield

Like many other hackerspaces, Diyode has been running arduino workshops as part of our community outreach. Typically, we’ve started with an intro to the concept, built a simple button/led circuit on a breadboard, then coded it up. People with a natural aptitude for this kind of stuff do okay with that, but we’ve seen a lot of people losing interest when it takes an hour or more before they see their first light blink.

People are fickle beasts, and when there’s a struggle to get to the first milestone, they tend to get frustrated quickly. Many are picking up a resistor for the first time, or are intimidated by the breadboard and its hidden pathways. Others get something built, find it doesn’t work, but don’t know if the problem is hardware or software. These things are all daunting to beginners.

Diyode Code Shield - prototype board 1

We came to the conclusion a while ago that for the sake of keeping people, especially kids, enthusiastic, they should get their feet wet with code first. Once they are comfortable with that, then tackle the hardware. To provide the shortest possible route to the first moment of glory, we developed a new arduino shield built specifically for the process of teaching arduino code. By  initially bypassing the electronics theory and postponing the breadboarding stage, it takes much of the frustration out of the learning process. Those things can come later, once they’ve already got a pocket full of victories.

The Diyode Code Shield has:
Inputs: switch, button, potentiometer, rotary encoder, thermistor, photocell, and hall effect sensor.
Outputs: Piezo buzzer, servo motor, RGB LED, Yellow LED, and a relay with screw terminals.

Over the next month we’ll be developing a curriculum and sample code for the board. We’ll also be refining the board layout, and looking to source the circuit boards in larger quantities. My personal goal is to be spreading the gospel of Arduino to schools, cub scout groups and community centres though out the city, leaving an arduino and a code shield in the hands of each kid who was first to meet a specific challenge.

If you’d be interested in the board, leave a comment below, and I’ll keep you updated as things progress.

26 Responses to “The Diyode CodeShield”

  1. […] The Diyode CodeShield @ Diyode. We came to the conclusion a while ago that for the sake of keeping people, especially kids, enthusiastic, they should get their feet wet with code first. Once they are comfortable with that, then tackle the hardware. To provide the shortest possible route to the first moment of glory, we developed a new arduino shield built specifically for the process of teaching arduino code. By  initially bypassing the electronics theory and postponing the breadboarding stage, it takes much of the frustration out of the learning process. Those things can come later, once they’ve already got a pocket full of victories. […]

  2. […] The Diyode CodeShield « Diyode Posted on February 24, 2012 by Doug via diyode.com […]

  3. cool! do you plan to sell these? i teach tons of arduino and could use one of these.

  4. Simon Clark says:

    I’m not sure yet if we’ll just sell the boards, or whole kits, but I’m pretty sure they’ll be available in some form.

  5. […] teach people the basics by giving them a bare board, they have created a prototyping shield, the Diyode CodeShield, which allows them to learn software first: We came to the conclusion a while ago that for the sake […]

  6. David Sikes says:

    I’d love a few of these, I’ve got tons of friends who want to try arduino, this would make it stupid simple to get some positive feedback that your code is working with real-world parts. They’d have a blast. Love it!

  7. […] teach people the basics by giving them a bare board, they have created a prototyping shield, the Diyode CodeShield, which allows them to learn software first: We came to the conclusion a while ago that for the sake […]

  8. Frank Carey says:

    Please keep us posted as to if/when these become available. Personally, I love a good kit.

  9. Mike Ransom says:

    Awesome idea – would love to have a couple for the next time we hold our Boy Scouts Computer and Robotics Merit Badge sessions.

  10. Stu says:

    I’d love one of these. I’m a software guy, and this looks like a great idea!

  11. […] teach people the basics by giving them a bare board, they have created a prototyping shield, the Diyode CodeShield, which allows them to learn software first: We came to the conclusion a while ago that for the sake […]

  12. Chris Gillanders says:

    This is really cool. I have been looking for some way to get my kids interested. If I can combine this with Scratch for Arduino (http://seaside.citilab.eu/scratch?_s=sl_OaXM77BwIfdmX&_k=2kt8GiVAxiotpQNj) it would be very powerful.

  13. MauiJerry says:

    Neat board. The SparkFun DangerShield has some similar parts and audience …
    http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10570
    but it lacks the servo, relay and rotary encoder.
    I could see you (or adafruit) packaging up the parts along with a ProtoScrewShield and build instructions
    add a lesson or so to ARDX and its a great way to start people.

    keep me posted. I’m working on a grant to teach kids.

  14. Greg says:

    This looks like a great idea – looking at how to introduce some programming at the local primary school so this could be perfect for it.

  15. Marla Quinones says:

    We want. Please let us know when/how we can get our hands on some or one.

  16. Sam E says:

    Keep us posted!

  17. Shawn Moore says:

    I’m looking to develop a high school class around the Arduino and Processing. I would love to be in the loop on this project.

  18. […] teach people the basics by giving them a bare board, they have created a prototyping shield, the Diyode CodeShield, which allows them to learn software […]

  19. Ron says:

    Great idea! Keep me in the loop, please.

  20. Gregg says:

    I would be interested in one of these as well. It might be something that could be incorporated into Arduino instruction where I work.

  21. Eric says:

    Good approach- please loop me!

  22. Bill Bard says:

    I just happened to be wandering around the neighbourhood and discovered your shop. After Googling the DiYode name this turned up.
    I’m retired from the Electronics Industry and am interested in what you have to offer the community.
    How do I hook up?
    Regards,
    Bill

  23. […] get me wrong, what I think Simon did with the Diyode crew in developing the CodeShield is great. It allows people of all ages and ability to get up and running with an Arduino in a […]

  24. Liz says:

    Yes! I’d be very interested in using these for teaching! It would be very helpful at Noisebridge circuit hacking mondays and at times when a whole class of kids comes to learn something!

  25. Rodney says:

    Great! I see my ideal as a mixture of this and the Danger Shield as I am teaching music students and they like the three slider pots.

    Currently, I am using arduino with PDuino, an extension to Pure Data, http://puredata.info/ , a graphical programming environment for audio and music. PDuino uses Firmata, an Arduino program that, once flashed into the arduino, turns it into a ‘dumb’ interface board. Firmata provides an API that lets you hook up the arduino to higher-level languages such as PD, Python etc. to bypass writing actual arduino code at least until that ‘pocketful of victories’ is achieved.

    However, BlocklyDuino https://github.com/gasolin/BlocklyDuino is an offshoot of Google Blockly (itself an offshoot of Scratch and Lego Star LOGO) used graphical blocks to generate arduino code that can then be pasted into the arduino IDE and flashed to the board. This vid shows the basic workflow
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_swiyXcUvNY I especially like how it still follows the top-to-bottom execution of text-based coding and uses indenting similar to the ‘real thing’ so it’s not such a big jump when switching over later on.

    These approaches cut down the distraction of syntax errors (the programming equivalent of dry joints and melted transistors). I am looking forward to putting all these things together in my teaching.

    Sorry, longer comment than planned :)

    Rod.

  26. […] teach people the basics by giving them a bare board, they have created a prototyping shield, the Diyode CodeShield, which allows them to learn software […]

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