Given the evolution of components to microcontrollers in the electronics field over the past few years, exactly how do you define electronics today? Does it have to include a soldering iron? Does programming DSP chips and other keyboard activity qualify? Where do you see electronics going in, say, 10 years?
I’m often asked what the best way is to support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education with electronics. At the high school level, as soon as I start talking about Arduino boards and sensors, teachers tend to run away. It’s intimidating to set up an electronics workshop from scratch. Think of all the necessary infrastructure that needs to be constructed — from multimeters and soldering irons to parts bins — and the components to fill them.
What do you think of when you hear the term electronic hobbyist or experimenter? I seem to see a person who likes to build electronic circuits and equipment. A bench with breadboarding socket, power supply, multimeter, function generator, oscilloscope and the usual parts boxes. This person probably even designs some circuits and equipment as well as builds from a kit. Electronics hobbyist like those just mentioned do still exist, but they are no longer the majority. There is a new electronics hobbyist out there now and they are different. Maybe you are one of them.
Who was Hugo Gernsback? The answer depends on whom you ask. “Gernsback published the first science fiction magazine!” a science fiction reader will declare. Ask an engineer and you might hear, “Gernsback ... wasn’t he involved in early experiments with television broadcasting?” Others will recall Gernsback’s radio magazines. A radio historian will tell you that Hugo Gernsback owned radio station WRNY, introduced the first home radio set (1905), and championed the cause of radio amateurs.