Image by Hans Otten
Here at oomlout we're particularly proud of our open-source ARDX Starter Kit for Arduino. Bundling components, an Arduino Uno, our handy-dandy laser-cut prototyping board and a fully-open collection of projects documented in a printed guidebook and circuit layout sheets, it has found its way into homes, hackspaces, offices, schools and universities throughout the world. While we'd love to say we invented the concept of a beginner-friendly electronics kit, though, it'd be a lie - as our good friend and fellow UK Maker Belter Iain Sharp of Lushprojects reminds us with his write-up of his childhood love, the Philips Radionics X40 kit. Like our ARDX, the Philips bundle comes with all the components required to build a selection of projects detailed in a bundled manual. Featuring through-hole components and a simple pre-printed circuit board, the X40 is just one of a range of child-friendly electronics kits from that era which helped engender interest in the topic at a young age and were responsible for launching more than one career, Iain's included - proving, if proof were required, that the current interest in the maker movement is merely a continuation of a long-held curiosity in learning how things work and building your own electronics.
What I did learn was a lot about practical electronics and also that electronics was an experimental science – you could just try changing stuff and seeing what worked.