Monday, September 5, 2016

Snapping back into electronics

I started out with a much more difficult article then I had planned since I was asked by Joshua Miele with the Blind Arduino blog to do an article on how to setup Arduino IDE. This article is going to be much tamer. I think it is important for parents of Blind and Low vision children to be able to help their kids have a healthy love of STEM of all kinds. It is true that I am currently 46 and my brother and parents helped me only 2 years back but this holds true all the way back to day one of a visually impaired child's life. Just because we are blind does not mean we should not be exposed to everything possible. I recently had 2 foster children that were sighted. And I used my Snap Circuit kits to explain to them why they could not watch TV in the morning. I made a simple circuit with a fan, light, power supply, and a small connector that I could easily flick off with my finger. I showed them how when I flicked the one piece it disconnected and the fan and the light shut off. Then I showed them out on the street where the tree had fallen through the power line to our house.

The two foster boys were 3 and 5 and loved the demonstration. Not only did they love it but they couldn't stop making the fan blade fly off the motor like a Frisbee. Then something interesting happened. The five-year-old started making his own circuits. Nothing major but he quickly learned just by sticking things together what would work and what would not work. He of course wanted me to put the fan blade thrower back together once he destroyed it but that was the cool thing. Here I am the blind guy interacting with sighted kids teaching them very basic electronics and they are not even six years old yet. The same thing holds true for blind kids. I have yet to find a blind kid who does not like sticking his finger in the very safe snap circuits fan blade that when the positive lead is hooked up one way makes the fan blade fly off and when hooked in reverse it makes it stop, when the power is removed.

Parental and family help does not have to stop when you leave home. My Brother and parents proved this a couple years back. I suppose some could say I had been wining for some time since my wife bought me a robot kit in 2013 and with the help of my brother reading the instructions I built it. I will get to that in another blog right now I want to start with something more basic. After working with that robot I realized two things. I had forgotten a bit of my electronics in the last 20+ years and starting out with little bitty parts when you only partially remember what your doing is a bit difficult.

So I had been talking to my brother Tim who is what I consider a genius and if he reads this he will just have to deal with his big head. My parents were also on the phone they currently live with my brother. My dad as I said in my introduction was big in electronics and computers and my mom is no slouch in just about any subject I ask her about. To tell you the truth I wouldn't have graduated high school without her. Anyway I was talking to them about the trouble I had changing the circuit on the robot my wife bought me. Sure I could get Kathy, my wife, to help me put pieces in but that is not what I wanted I wanted a way to do electronics myself and to be able to quickly test something. I told my brother I would love to make parts that easily snapped together and acted like the real electronics parts. WE remembered the old kits from Radio shack and I thought it would be cool if we could make something for blind people that would be both accessible and fun to learn with. He told me that he had seen something like what we were talking about and after a bit of searching we found Elencro which turns out to be the people who used to make those old spring electronics kits sold from radio shack. Now they make Snap Circuits. I was pretty excited but I did not want to buy something I was not going to be able to use. I let it slide while I continued to play with my robot and do other things that were work related.

My brother and Parents however did not let it go. They purchased the Rover Deluxe and the Extreme 750 Snap Circuit kits and a braille labeler. While you would have to ask my parents how long it took them to use the labeler to braille the parts in the kit, I don't think it was over a few hours and they don't even know braille. The good thing is there is only about 80 parts in the 750 kit and not all of them have to be labeled. A lot of the parts can be distinguished by feel which makes this a great learning tool for the visually impaired.

You can watch these two videos I found on the two kits. They are not perfect but they have a good description of what comes with the kits.

Deluxe Rover:

Extreme 750:

Once again my brother helped by building a few of the more difficult kits from the extreme kit so I could see what they looked like. Then he read the instructions while I built the AM radio. The radio

is just one of the 750 things you can build. I was able to quickly pick the pieces out because they labeled them with braille with the same numbers like S1 is a switch, R2 is a resistor. My dad put together the rover with some grumbling about how hard it was to read the picture instructions. While the instructions are good they are not as easy to follow as the Lego instructions but they are close. After doing a few kits with my brother. I told him to leave the AM radio together so that I could take it a part later and write my own instructions.

My idea was to take it a part backwards and write the instructions in reverse. If everything went right I would have as many instructions as I had parts (Not counting the circuit board). My first attempt worked great but was not very pretty. At the time It was a straight list of instructions and it was a bit hard to follow. I was working with Fred Otto a Project leader at APH on the new Snap Circuit project that we are working on. He suggested that rather than one list of instructions we break them up into layers because you stack parts on parts when building a circuit almost like how you build a Lego kit. With his suggestion and another idea of mine to sort the instructions to do the connectors first on each layer and then the specialized parts. This made it quicker to find the parts. So after all the mental work this is what the AM radio instructions I made looked like.

Project 306: AM radio

Parts List (29 pieces)

Count Part
1 Circuit Board 7 by 10 labeled A-G and 1-10
4 1 Connector
5 2 connector
2 3 connector
2 4 connector
1 6 connector
1 Antenna A1 (AM)
2 battery pack (2 AA cell 3V)
1 Capacitor c1(0.02uF )
1 Capacitor C2 (0.1uF )
1 capacitor c3 (10uF )
1 Resistor R4 (10k ohm
1 Resistor R5 (100k ohm)
1 Speaker (8 ohm)
1 Switch S1
1 transistor q2 (NPN Power AMP transistor)
1 u5 (High Frequency Integrated Circuit)
1 variable capacitor CV
1 Variable Resistor RV (50K ohm)


To follow each instruction, the first part of the instruction before the comma is the part. The second after the comma is the placement. To place it count down the short part of the circuit board by letter and across by number. There are 10 columns and 7 rows. The First Row A and the last row is G. So if the instruction is as follows:

3 Connector, B2 B4

You start at the top left hand corner with the circuit board in a landscape layout. The top left corner is A1. Count down to the next row which is B1. Then move to the right to B2 which is the first placement. Then Snap the piece between B2 and B3 two to the right.

The layers in the instruction indicate that if you are on Layer 2 then your piece will be on top of another piece. If you are on Layer 3 your part will be on two other pieces and so on. The AM radio instructions only has three layers.

Layer 1

  1. 1 Connector, A3
  2. 3 connector, A4 C4
  3. 4 connector, A1 D1
  4. 4 connector, A6 A9
  5. 6 connector, F1 F6
  6. battery pack (2 AA cell 3V), B9 D9, Positive D9
  7. battery pack (2 AA cell 3V), F7 F9, Positive F9
  8. transistor q2 (6SCQ2 NPN Power AMP transistor) , B7 D7 C6
  9. u5 (AM amp Integrated Circuit), C3 E3 D4

Layer 2

  1. 1 Connector, A9
  2. 1 Connector, F1
  3. 1 Connector, F6
  4. 2 connector E3 F3
  5. 2 Connector, F6 F7
  6. 3 connector, D7 F7
  7. Antenna A1 (AM), C1 C3
  8. Capacitor C2, D4 F4, Positive on F4
  9. capacitor c3, C4 C6, Positive on C4
  10. Resistor R4, A4 A6
  11. Resistor R5, A1 A3
  12. Speaker, B7 B9
  13. Switch S1, D9 F9
  14. variable capacitor CV, D1 D3

Layer 3

  1. 2 Connector, C4 D4
  2. 2 Connector, A3 A4
  3. 2 Connector, A9 B9
  4. Capacitor c1, D1 F1
  5. Variable Resistor RV, A6 C6 D6

That is all you need to build an AM radio with Snap Circuits. I got tired of changing batteries with all the kits so I bought the AC Snap adapter at http://cs- and modified the above instructions by changing 2 instructions in Layer 1. So I added this to the end of my instructions in case someone wanted to change theirs as well.

Alternative Instructions

These instructions make it so you can plug the radio in with the AC snap found at

to eliminate the use of batteries.

Alternative parts

Count Part
1 3 Connector
1 Ac Snap

Layer 1 Replacement Instructions

  1. AC snap , B9 D9, 6 Volt D9
  2. 3 Connector, F7 F9, Positive F9

As you see above you can build a pretty cool project with out to much information and it doesn't take a super high reading level for a person to follow the instructions. The Snap Circuit kits are made for people from 8 to 108 and it shouldn't be too hard for an 8-year-old Blind or Sighted person to follow these instructions. The great thing is you can change the circuits as you learn and improve them. I even have a simple change to this circuit that allows you to use an earphone rather than the rather quiet speaker. I am also working on an upgrade that would allow you to throw a switch and switch between AM and FM but that is turning out to be more difficult because I am not sure if I am going to be able to fit it all on one of the 7 by 10 circuit boards. We will see in a later blog what happens.

If you are thinking this looks a bit difficult for a young kid to do. Remember this is one of the harder projects in the Extreme kit you would not start with this one unless you already had electronic experience. The first project in the Extreme kit is the Light and switch project that only has eight pieces and thus only eight steps to build it. That takes no time at all and after built it is not hard to see how you can add fans, buttons and all kinds of stuff and that is how this electronic learning kit sucks you in for hours of play / work depending on how you look at it.

Some may think that this is only a toy / learning tool. That may be true for some but I use it for prototyping. As I previously said it was hard for me to get started with bread boards do to the small parts. Now though I could start prototyping ideas that I would later build on a bread board but first with big pieces. So for example I built a light sensor first with Snap Circuits which I found the instructions for on a Do It Yourself (DIY) page. Then after I understood how the light sensor worked I fought for a few hours to put the little pieces in a bread board and create it with real electronics. I didn't make the simplest light sensor. I used a 555 timer which meant I had to buy a special piece for snap circuits that took an eight leg Microchip. The cool thing was I could just take the 555 timer chip out of my snap circuit board and plug it into the bread board and other parts and it was now a real bread board prototype.

The reason it was important for me to do it first with Snap Circuits was it was easier to put together. Easier to follow where the connectors went, and I could find out if I really understood what I was reading on the DIY page. If I would have done it first on the bread board (I tried) and my circuit did not work (It did not),. I would not have known if I had miss wired it or if I had done something wrong (I did not). It was much easier for me to start with the Snap Circuits. So I start with the Snap circuits on many things I try.

One of the projects in the Extreme kit is even a continuity checker. I think there is even a simple analog multi meter. I have not built that one yet because it really is not accessible. I am actually making a digital talking volt meter one with the Snap Circuit kit and two special pieces. One being the PIC programmable chip that comes with the SC400 kit and another part I bought from Parallax that allows speech output. Note the speech module is not a Snap Circuit piece but there are ways to connect it and I will explain that in a later blog.

Finally, there is a robot that amazingly does not come with a programmable PIC chip but I have added one to mine. That way I can build something that a person can program and learn both electronics and robotics together. The original Deluxe robot comes as a remote control robot which was kind of fun driving around but I think it is more fun to build something that can be programmed. I wish the PIC chip had more memory but it is a very basic chip. Maybe I will add a small maker board (Arduino) into the Snap Circuits to give it more brains a bit later. This is also going to help me when working with my ActivityBot robot Kathy bought me because once I figure out a good circuit on my Snap Circuit robot I can transfer that over to it.

I hope this post has wet your appetite for what is to come later in this blog. I am going to continue to put up different instructions for all kinds of things. This will be my own accessible DIY blog because I find that there are a lot of things we can build with small modifications to instructions already found on the web. Snap Circuits are of course a great way to prototype things but I will also put up Arduino projects and even bread board projects that have nothing to do with either of the former. I will show how making something with Snap Circuits can be remade with Arduino and a bread board. I will even review a few things like a multi meter we found at work that is accessible for the blind and cheap.

By the way if you have comments on what would make instructions like the AM radio easier please let me know in the comment field. I had thought of putting them in tables with the part in one column and the instruction in the second but I thought a numbered list might be easier to follow. I am also interested in any Snap Circuit instructions for strange and unusual circuits. Also if you have electronic toys or tools you think are or can be made accessible let me know about them. I already have a lot of stuff but I am always on the lookout for things that make learning electronics for people with visual impairments easier and more fun.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Arduino IDE Setup With Windows Screen Reader

I have never been satisfied with the current methods being used to program Arduino boards when a person has to use a screen reader. There is a perfectly good tool that should be accessible. I have been trying to make Arduino IDE work since 1.5.6. I have always been able to use the code editor but the menus never worked right. My version at 1.5.6 was able to program my Arduino Uno with Jaws but NVDA never worked and Jaws was sometimes good sometimes bad. So I had partial access. Every blind person I have talked to has told me that they could not get it to work at all. I knew I must have done something accidental So I set out to prove that it was possible to make Arduino IDE work with Jaws and NVDA.

The truth is the steps to get the Arduino IDE to work have been out for a while but they are scattered across three pages. and if you were using Arduino IDE before 1.6 you would get different results, even if you did it right. I am going to write out all the steps here but if you follow Oracles page on installing both the 32 and 64 bit JDK, the Android Studio Accessibility guide, and the enabling Java accessibility bridge from Oracle. You can get the Arduino IDE working without my little article here.

Download and Install JDK and Arduino IDE

First I am using the latest Windows 10 Anniversary addition but I know this will work as far back as Windows 8. The instructions might even work with Windows 7 but I have not tested them. If you don't have a 64-bit machine you only need to download and follow the 32 bit instructions. To make this as easy as possible I suggest downloading everything first then setting it up. The following is needed:

  • jdk-8u101-windows-i586.exe
  • jdk-8u101-windows-x64.exe

Both of the JDK's above can be found at

You can probably follow all these steps with any of the JDK with a version of 8 or higher but I like to use the latest to get all the benefits of accessibility fixes.

Next download the Arduino IDE (arduino-1.6.11-windows.exe) or anything newer than 1.6.9. The link to the latest windows installer can be found on the following page.

Once you have these three downloads. Start by running all three installers. If you're doing this on a Windows 32-bit platform just install the 32 bit JDK and the Arduino IDE.

Setup Java Environment variables

Next you will need to make sure that the Java environment that runs is the one you think is running. The way to make sure of this is to set the path to the bing, two windows system environment variables, copy some important files and turn on the Java access bridge. The Easiest way to accomplish this is to do the following steps:

Step 1: Set Path, JAVA_HOME, and JRE_HOME

  1. Press Windows key +Pause (The pause key is the first key on the right in the set of three above the six pack on a standard keyboard.)
  2. Tab until Advanced System Settings is reached. And press enter
  3. Tab until Environment variables is reached. And press enter
  4. Tab till system variables' is reached and press down arrow till PATH is selected
  5. Tab till System variables edit is reached and press enter
  6. Arrow up and down and delete any path information about Orical Java. To delete select it then tab to remove. Once done do OK so that the change is saved.
  7. Add a the path to the 64 bit JDK by Editing the path again and pressing new. A dialog will ask for the new path. My 64 bit JDK is found at: C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_101\bin. After done Press OK to save.
  8. Add two new system variable's so that you know you are using your JRE and Java command line tools. The two variables are JAVA_HOME, AND JRE_HOME.
  9. Press Tab until System Environment variables new is selected and hit enter
  10. A Dialog will ask for name put: JAVA_HOME
  11. Tab and as a value put your home path. My home path is: C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_101\
  12. Tab until OK is selected and press enter.
  13. Repeat the above steps to enter the JRE_HOME variable. My JRE_HOME is set to C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_101\jre
  14. Press OK and Tab until OK is reached and press enter. Continue to Tab until OK and press enter until you are out of the dialogs. If you do not Press OK it is possible your variables will not get saved. You can check your variables by going back to the System variable screen and checking to make sure your variables are there and are correct.

Step 2: Turn on Java Accessibility Bridge

Now that you have the paths all setup. It is time to turn on the Java Access bridge. There are a couple ways to do this. The easiest way I have found is the following:

  1. Press Windows key + r to open the run dialog.
  2. Type in cmd.exe and press enter
  3. Type cd C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.8.0_101\bin Type: jabswitch.exe /enable and press enter
  4. You should see confirmation that the Java Access Bridge is enabled.
  5. Type exit and press enter.

Step 3: Copy all essential Access bridge files

Now to move all the files where they need to be. taken from Oracles page at:

Note: On a 64-bit machine it is recommended that you install both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the JRE. The 32-bit version only adds support for 32-bit assistive technology, and the 64-bit version only adds support for 64-bit assistive technology.

Using Java Access Bridge with Only the Private JRE

The JDKs installed above contains a private JRE. This is required to run tools included with the JDK. In order to use the Private JRE the Windows Access bridge files must be installed manually by copying them to the windows directories found in the table below.

Dynamic-Link Library (DLL) Files to Copy from Private JRE to Windows Directory

JDK Windows Operating System File to Copy Destination Directory
32-bit 32-bit .dll C:32
32-bit 64-bit -32.dll C:64
64-bit 64-bit -64.dll C:32

Testing The Install

Now if you have done all previous steps correctly simply press the Windows key and type Arduino and press enter. The Arduino IDE should come up and everything including the menus and edit field should talk correctly. There should be a default script template loaded and waiting for you to get going on making.

Blogger Introduction

My name is Ken Perry. To start out this blog, I wanted to give you a bit of history about myself and let you know that I am no PHD holder or genius, but I do have a BS in Software Engineering. Something I probably would have never received if I didn’t lose my sight in the military. I had planned on staying in for 20 years and getting out and who knows working for AT&T or some other large communication company but sometimes what you plan is not what is meant to be.

When I was very young only 8 or 9 I helped my dad test tubes on TV’s that he fixed as an extra job while he was in the Air Force. I say I helped him but who knows how much help I really was. I did learn to read the large book and know how to cross reference the numbers on the tubes to set the tube tester switches to tell us if the tube was good or bad. I don’t know that he needed every tube I could get my hands on tested but I really did enjoy testing them. I also liked playing with the soldering iron when he was not looking and while I knew nothing about electronics I was already bitten by the bug to tinker. I watched my dad build our first color TV set from a Heath Kit and there was no going back. I knew then that all I had to do is get out of High School and I could join the Air Force like my dad and get to tinker with the big stuff.

I joined the Air Force when I was 17 and turned 18 just before I went in. My dad was a Ground radio guy which means a lot of what he worked on was more like Ham radio but and I went in as Wideband communications which means I dealt with more wave guides and high power transmission. Turns out that both jobs had some crossover and my first posting was with the 601st ASOC which actually had some of the old equipment my dad worked on years earlier. I would not be shocked if one of the Track-97’s had both our name on the preventive maintenance logs. The Stars and Stripes newspaper even did a small article on the fact that we ended up in the same 601st Wing and worked on a lot of the same equipment. I got to work on some of the new stuff in Desert Storm and Desert Shield. We were using some of the first Satellite phones and fiber data vans and learning how to splice fiber when it was much fatter than it is now.

The Air Force seems to hint that a person coming out of Electronics basic and Tech school has an equivalent to an Associates level in electronics minus all the electives. It is a lot like ITT or DeVry without having to worry about what you are going to wear and having a scheduled study time. There is one blaring difference between what I learn in the military and what is learned in a tech school. The big difference between what the military teaches lowly airmen or is it airpersons now, is that ITT and DeVry has classes that explain the math and physics behind electronics much more than the Air Force Tech School does. I could tell you how things work and how to fix it but not why what I did worked and why electricity works as it does. When I got out. My younger brother, who was only 14, knew more than I did about why things work then I did when I got out of Tech School. Don’t get me wrong. I knew a lot and was able to do amazing MacGyver like things while I was in Saudi but that is for another blog I think.

Since the college councilors were sure I couldn’t do electronics and I figured since the military didn’t think I could do electronics. I decided to do software instead because of all the tools blind people had at the time to read the screens and use compilers. Even in Software Engineering classes I had to build computers (stick cards together), program Pic chips (Assembly just a socket burner). No real prototyping just theory and plug and play work. Looking back now it is to bad I didn’t get to try making some bread board prototypes. I might have learned a long time ago that I could still do electronics. My Software Engineering classes never went that deep into electronics. I could have taken a elective but I still assumed I could not have done it and to be truely honest there were not the tools there are now so it might have been difficult at best.

While it is true I didn’t take any serious electronics classes, I did take two physics classes and all the calculus I could take as well as statistics. The physics classes made the biggest difference because it finally explained a lot of how electricity works and gave me a much better foundation than what the military tech school did.

I took my time getting my BS in Software engineering. I worked part time training others with disabilities on how to use their computers while working at the Disability resource center at Salt Lake Communitty college and then after at Weber states Satelite program. I received my BS in Software Engineering in 2001 and I had been running a commercial game server since 1995 on-line so that kept me busy while I had my kids in the house. This was the first time I thought I might still have the ability to really still do electronics. Previous to this my brother was living with me, my wife and kids. Being that he is a genius in so many things I never was expected to do those little house maintenance things because he could do them faster. When he went on to another job in another state and my wife and I moved to Canada, it was up to me and my wife to maintain our house. that is when I actually wired my kitchen light blind. Sure there was a fair amount of Kathy yelling that my feet were twitching when she applied power and I was hanging out of the hole but I am still alive. I also bought my first talking multi-meter which was made there in BC Canada. They no longer make them. I heard a rumor that they found blind people were buying them and they didn’t want to be liable for one of them trying to test a power line or something. Who knows if that is true.

Once my kids got older I got bored and wanted to work some. I had military disability and did not have to work but I can’t stand sitting around on someone else’s dime. I found a job at the Disability Resource Centre in Victoria BC Canada and since I had done a lot of the same stuff for the college when I was going to school. I fit right in teaching other disability people what equipment they needed and how to use it. At home I still did a lot of wood working projects and even re-did our kitchen with a small bit of help from friends.

Once the kids all graduated my wife and I decided that we would try living somewhere different. I looked around and applied at a few places in the states. I was very happy to get a job with the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville Kentucky (APH. , which is an amazing place that has services and makes tools for the blind. I have worked on a lot of projects with APH in both the Software Engineering role and Project lead roll. I will probably not Blog a lot about that since I would have to get approval for things I am working on to post about them. I will say though it has been fun creating new devices and Software at APH. Some of them can be found at the (Tech site.

It wasn’t till 2013 a full 22 years after I was blind and after I had done some really fun stuff at APH. My wife bought me a Christmas present that shocked me a bit. I had been wining for a while that I would love to be able to build my own robot. She seems to have a much higher opinion of my skills than I must have had at the time because she bought me an ActivityBot which is pretty much two servos with a proto board and a pretty cool 8 core parallax processor. My brother came up for Christmas and read the instructions to me on how to put it together. He made me do all the work. For the first time in 22 years I was playing with resistors, transistors, and a speaker. The coding was not too hard and I was able to make it beep and move not long after I had it put together. The problem was though all the instructions on-line are graphics. So while I love my little robot I had trouble figuring out things at first.

An important note here. I had seen my brother use a proto board but I never understood how they worked. I didn’t understand that each row of 5 was connected together and where the power and ground was expected to be on them. In the military I had made a circuit board for tech school and I had repaired them but designing them I had no idea how to do. prototyping. So here I am blind learning to use a bread board and actually going beyond the knowledge I had in the military.

It wasn’t until half a year later that it really got easier for me. My brother found Snap Circuits and enlisted my parents in using a braille dimo tape labeler to label the parts. Then they brought it up to our house. it was like stepping into the past when we had those spring electronic kits from Radio Shack. In fact, this was the same company that used to make those. Now I had a method to quickly prototype stuff with out counting tiny holes and fighting with small pieces. The only problem was once again the instructions were all graphical.

I came up with a way to write the instructions out. You don’t need electronics knowledge to start building kits if you can look at the pictures. It is like Lego’s for electronics. I had my wife build the circuits and then I would take them apart writing the instructions backwards. I plan on posting some of the instructions I have wrote from the kits and some I have created on this blog. After I got about 30 of the instructions converted. I no longer needed them and built a light detector. After I built the light detector on the Snap Circuits I wanted to see if I could build it on a bread board. I am leaving out a lot of steps and a lot of hours searching for parts I needed on line. I also don’t want to leave out that without my wife and family support and I don’t mean help putting it together I mean just help looking at web sites. It would have been hard to make sure I was buying the right stuff. but I have now built the light detector using nothing but a bread board several parts including a 555 timer and steps that I found on a DIY project and was able to figure out with my brother on the phone and my wife over my shoulder.

It was not long after getting the Snap Circuits working and the first bread board project, that my wife and I went to a Makers fair in Louisville. If you have not been to one. Search out the one in your town or city and go. At this fair I found a small kit that fit in a box the size of a deck of cards. It now is in a very small tackle box because that is how they sell it now. At the time though they had less projects. The kit is called “Let’s start coding”. It is a kit to teach coding by building projects. At the time they did not have a light detector project but I thought it would be cool to buy the $45 kit and use some other parts to make a light detector. If you want to see this kit they still sell them at (Lets start coding

I have now built the light detector in many ways to show the difference. I have made it with Little bits, Raspberry PI and a break out board, Arduino with and with out a bread board, with Arduino and Bluetooth going to an Android phone, Arduino using USB to an Android phone. I even made a light detector that talked the value of the resister using a speech shield with an Arduino as the controller. I made and remade the light detector in a lot of ways. I did this because it was a not to simple device that was useful which I could practice on and learn how I could build more interesting things. I have even built a small talking Volt meter. Not a big multi feature one but one that can teach how to make a more complicated one if someone really wanted to.

Along the way I have learned a lot and I continue to learn. I have new tools and circuits that I continue to find and build. This is not rocket science all though maybe I will build one of those two but the point is anyone can do this even a blind man who thought his dream had to change. It did not. Now I have two big skills, electronics and coding and I hope that in the blogs to follow I can help other blind and sighted get the same bug I had when I was young.