13-Year-Old Teaches Arduino Skills to CA Alumni

by Nancy DuVergne Smith on December 17, 2013

in Alumni Life, Modern Geekhood

Quin Etnyre teaches Arduino programming to alumni.

Quin Etnyre teaches Arduino programming to alumni.

A thirteen-year-old boy in Southern California is making headlines for his programming savvy and enterprising ways—and, mostly, he is pictured wearing an MIT tee shirt.

In fact, the BBC recently filmed Quin Etnyre teaching a workshop for the MIT Club of Southern California on programming for Arduino, an inexpensive open-source microprocessor plus software. His own Arduino projects include FuzzBot, a small, cute four-wheeled robot that senses obstacles as it dusts the floor.

Quin is frequently pictured in MIT tee shirts.

Quin is frequently pictured in MIT tee shirts.

Quin, who created his own company, Qtechknow, to provide inexpensive kits to encourage kids to enjoy programming, got started on Arduino development at a maker faire a few years ago. Maker faires are great places to learn for do-it-yourselfers. In fact, that’s where he learned about MIT.

“I’ve heard great things about the MIT Media Lab,” Quin says. “I met some grad students from MIT at the Maker Faire Bay Area a few years ago and they thought it was a great program. I hope to visit MIT someday.”

Quin’s connection to the Southern California club comes through Joan Horvath ′81, the club’s programs vice president and VP Business Development at Deezmaker 3D printers. Deezmaker’s president serves as a mentor for Quin.

“We had been hosting ‘learn 3D printing’ events for the club at Deezmaker. I was talking to Quin and his dad about this, and we decided it might be fun to have Quin do one of his ‘learn programming Arduino’ events for the club,” says Horvath. “It sold out about a month ahead of time and we will probably do it again.”

“Meanwhile the BBC had asked to do a piece on Quin, and when they found out about the MIT class asked to film him doing that. So the BBC piece led to a lot MORE press around it.”

So what does Quin want to be when he grows up. “I want to be an educator, and a user experience designer, and I would also like to be an electrical engineer.”

Want to encourage someone you know to try programming? Visit the Qtechknow website for links to 27 Instructables projects, 20 modestly priced products, and tutorials.

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