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The Arduinitar

An award winning project using a build-it-yourself electronic guitar to teach electronic circuits and programming to pre-university audiences.

  • School/Institute/Department: Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, CS4FN
  • Subjects: Electronic Engineering, Computer Science
  • Audience:
  • Status: Past

Electronic musical instruments are a great way to introduce principles of electronic engineering and computer science to a pre-university audience. The Arduinitar was jointly developed by Andrew McPherson (Lecturer in Digital Media) and Ho Huen (QMUL electronics lab manager) with support from CS4FN (Computer Science for Fun). It is a build-it-yourself electronic guitar based on the Arduino microcontroller platform. It has been used in activities around the UK using music to teach electronic circuits and programming.

The Arduinitar is regularly featured at the TeenTech science events for teenagers. TeenTech runs lively one-day events to help young teenagers see the wide range of career possibilities in Science, Engineering and Technology.

It is an award winning, industry-led initiative, founded in 2008 by Maggie Philbin and Chris Dodson to help the “X Factor” generation understand their true potential and the real opportunities available in the contemporary STEM workplace.

TeenTech events take place at venues across the UK – at each event 300 pupils from 30 different schools benefit from hands-on exhibits and challenges run by leading organisations.  TeenTech works collaboratively with Education Business Partnerships, companies, Universities and business organisations to create these very special experiences for young people.

Arduinitar attempts to breakdown the ‘geeky’ stereotype associated with Electronic Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) by influencing school children at a younger age that EECS is a fun activity that can be easily broken down to easy to understand chunks.

During engagement events such as TeenTECH and school visits the initial reaction is “cool guitars!” and so without actually doing anything the students are instantly attracted to the Arduinitar.

Ardunitar runs on a unique concept. The combination of the Arduino microcontroller development board and audio instruments is seen in practice but the use of the instrument for outreach for EECS is not found anywhere else.

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