I grew up as a depressed boy in a village with little in the way of access to information. I found refuge in mathematics, a subject which excited my mind. For me mathematics was one of those feel good subjects: solving problems, beating challenges made me feel cool. Getting involved with electrical engineering was a natural extension of the enjoyment I found in problem solving.

I first met Arduino – the low cost, open design prototyping control board – in my second year of varsity. It was love at first sight. The potential applications for Arduino are limitless, and by 2013 I was evangelising its potential to empower a new generation of African innovators by reducing the cost of R&D to a few thousand rand at TEDxPretoria and Tech4Africa. For me, the simplicity of programming Arduino means it can unlock skills and ideas from all around the continent. People who previously had no way of developing ideas for new technologies into working prototypes they can take to potential backers can play with Arduino boards (and similar) in their homes or at any of the many tech hubs springing up across the continent.

This is me, along with a few robots and examples of home automation.

A lot of people all around the world are doing a lot of cool stuff with Arduino.  From home automation to health systems to 3D printers, Arduino is at the heart of many cutting edge industrial designs of recent years (not to mention more than a few Kickstarter projects).

Makers need to see the Arduino as more than just a cool microcontroller board, but as a great stimulant of impactful innovation. Who are these makers and what cool stuff are they making? The seminar will be used to give a platform to students makers to showcase their cool innovative solutions and help then commercialize their solutions.

Which is why we at Geekulcha think it’s really important to bring Arduino Day to Gauteng. On 28th March, we’ll be celebrating the board’s 10th anniversary, and hopefully encouraging a lot more people to take up the challenge of building their own solutions for their own problems using the low cost hardware.

It’s a day for young and old. The Future GeekStars (high school learners) who we train and encourage at Geekulcha will be joining us for Arduino Day, because we want to shape the future and the culture of makers. We’ll introduce them to cool makers who will engage and mentor these future GeekStars in developing innovative solutions with Arduino.

The world has gone mobile, Arduino has a place in solving many of the the social challenges. We shall explore how South African makers are using Arduino to adapt into the mobile world through the electroMobile challenge in collaboration with mLab Southern Africa. The challenge calls in super cool makers with mobile apps interfacing Arduino to battle for the Arduino championship trophy and being the ultimate GeekStars.

Industrial revolution is important towards efficiency and smart processing of goods and services. Arduino has been playing its role in the Industrial Evolution in the morden age but how smart has the South African Industry been innovating? The seminar will give scrutinization, celebrate and provide solutions towards the into into a smart industry.

With so many innovators in the country, we need to see a real value that Arduino brings in South Africa. An interactive discussion panel will be used to explore support structures for innovators in South Africa, how Arduino is used in academic studies and research, how Arduino make the City of Tshwane better, harnessing socio-economic development and others.

South Africa has a lot of skills to offer to the world, Arduino Day will be a platform to showcase those skills. Find out more by clicking here.

Tiyani Nghonyama is COO of Geekulcha, an organisation which aims to bring together students interested in innovative computer science and facilitate training and work experiece. Nghonyama organises its electronics programs.