C4DI member Hayden Barton has hit the papers this week after his success building the world's smallest Arduino - a piece of hardware that has the ability to interact and control all sorts of everyday electronic objects.
We spoke with the inspiring and gifted 22-year-old to find out more about his work and how these tiny microcontrollers are changing the way we live, work and play.
"I've been taking things apart and putting them back together again since I was around five-years-old," Hayden laughs. "Well, at that age, I probably struggled to reassemble them again."
Entirely self-taught, Hayden explains that he's always had an interest in electronics and hardware, frequently helping classmates on their projects during Design and Technology classes, as well as working on his own creations.
"I began building this Arduino as I needed a microcontroller small enough for some of my projects. It just didn't exist, so I decided to create my own."
Incredibly, the multi-talented entrepreneur designs, builds and programmes each of his products.
"When I first started selling the Arduinos, I would build them all my hand. However, when I reached 1,000 orders, I decided it was time for me to invest in a pick and place machine, reflow oven and solder stencil printer. I now programme these to put together the microcontrollers," he continues.
Starting out in his bedroom, Hayden would frequently work long nights, persevering with the compact space and expanding his knowledge around electronics and hardware.
"It's great that I now have my own office at C4DI. Everything you see in here somehow fitted in my room at home,” Hayden chuckles. “The building is the best place to be if you’re interested in tech and hardware.”
Hayden first joined C4DI a few months ago, after attending the bi-monthly Hardware Meetup, where beginners and experts come together to work on their projects and share their knowledge. Since then, he is collaborating with several members, including startup Moodbeam, software company Sauce and the Smart City Team.
"Arduinos can be used for so many different things," Hayden reveals.
"For example, some of my customers use them for toy train sets, to control the lights and tracks. Meanwhile, others have used them in greenhouses to turn sprinklers on when the air reaches a certain temperature. The possibilities are endless."
Microcontrollers work when hooked up to a variety of sensors, displays and lights. They can then be programmed to interact with electronic objects to perform an action, such as activating a motor, turning on an LED or publishing something online.
"My next project will be a slightly larger Arduino that has more pins, so will be more powerful," Hayden points out. "However, I am also working on an even smaller Arduino!"
It's fantastic to see young, skilled individuals doing amazing things within the C4DI building. We can't wait to see what Hayden comes up with next.
The next Hardware Meetup is on Thursday 19 July, please visit the Eventbrite page for more details.