Company to hold series of courses to help anyone – from kids to adults – get started learning about open source hardware and technology used in electronics

BOULDER, Colo. Dec. 19, 2011 – SparkFun Electronics ( today announced its first quarter 2012 line-up of Do-It-Yourself (DIY) electronics courses. Designed to help anyone – young, old and in-between – learn and embrace the world of electronics, the courses range from some tried and true classes from years prior to completely new areas of focus. All courses are instructed by SparkFun’s Education Department staff members and are held in the company’s learning center in Boulder, Colorado.

“SparkFun is committed to helping introduce the world of DIY electronics to anyone and everyone,” said Lindsay Levkoff, director of education for SparkFun. “Our classes are intended to be a fun, hands-on learning experience, as we want to provide a foundation of knowledge and resources for students to apply their own imagination and creativity to electronics.”

Classes kick-off on Jan. 14 and are currently slated through Feb. 4, 2012.

Introduction to Arduino - January 14, 2012, 9 AM – 5 PM (with a break for lunch from 12 - 1) -- Go from blinking an LED to virtual prototyping in seven hours and still have time to eat lunch! This class is for anyone who has never played around with Arduino before and those who have played around a little bit but aren't entirely sure about how the basics work.

ATMEGA In-depth Class - January 15, 2012, 9 AM – 5 PM (with a break for lunch from 12 - 1) -- This class will examine the basic examples in Arduino wired on the breadboard, including digital and analog examples, which is a great set up for troubleshooting your boards and code! In addition, we will cover using the ATMEGA 328 as a programmer to load basic code to the capable and inexpensive ATTINY85 8-pin Controller.

Exciting XBee Class - January 16, 2012, 9 AM – 5 PM (with a break for lunch from 12 - 1) -- This class begins with an introduction to all the required components, serial terminals, AT commands and the basics of mesh networking. The first project will be a Basic Chat session that demonstrates how to configure and connect coordinator and router ZigBee Series 1 radios together. We will also cover pin-to-pin data transfer using XBee Series 1 radios. Then after lunch we will do the same with XBee series 2 followed by a discussion on the different uses of the two XBee types. Finally we'll develop a full Processing-based wireless simple sensor network using ZigBee radio connections to collect three data values from numerous remotely placed sensors.

Solder your own Microcontroller - January 18, 2012, 6 PM to 7:30 PM -- If you've never soldered before, this is the class for you! We've been teaching soldering a lot over the past few years - now you can learn to solder while putting together an Arduino Compatible board. This course teaches through-hole soldering and is recommended for the true beginner. This will be a hands-on class where the students learn techniques to help them solder through-hole components.

Processing the Danger Shield - February 4, 2012, 9 AM – 5 PM (with a break for lunch from 12 - 1) --People love games, interactive stories and simulations. Now you can learn how to create them while gaining programming skills in the process. In this class we use SparkFun’s DangerShield to teach how a Microcontroller can be used as an interface for a computer program. Students will learn the basics necessary to create programs such as graphical interfaces, data logging visualizations, games, and animations using the free programming environment called Processing. Processing is based on Java so students will learn 21st century programming skills that are immediately transferable to college and the workplace.

“It’s important to remember that DIY electronics starts very simply just by deciding that you want to learn how to do something,” continued Levkoff. “We truly just want to reach as many people as we can and improve the lives of those who are impacted by this technology.”

Classes take place at the SparkFun building located at 6175 Longbow Drive; Suite 200; Boulder, CO 80301. SparkFun provides all the tools, irons, solder, parts, etc. For more information and a complete description of all classes, please visit: