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A circuit board and guide for kids, ages 8 to 108, who want to learn how to program Arduinos without messing with all the wires.
A circuit board and guide for kids, ages 8 to 108, who want to learn how to program Arduinos without messing with all the wires.
114 backers pledged $6,948 to help bring this project to life.

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Young Person's Guide to Arduino & Avocado Beginner Board

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Major Update - New Images and Information

Thanks to your support of the Young Person's Guide to Arduino and Avocado Beginner Board, incredible progress has been made throughout this Kickstarter campaign. Now in our final week of the campaign, I have updated most of the images on this page to show the final version of the Avocado Beginner Board. I'm also happy to share that 65 pages of the book are written. Not only do I have a complete supply chain system setup for the Avocado Beginner Board, but the book's supply chain is also completely ready to go. All details have been finalized down to the type of foam that will protect the boards during shipping.  

As I shared before, I have added a new bonus for all backers contributing more than $10. You will have the opportunity to have your name listed in the acknowledgement section of the Young Person's Guide to Arduino.

Also, we reached our $4000 stretch goal. Backers receiving an Avocado Beginner Board will also receive five extra experiments that are not included in the book. These experiments will be emailed out in January. One of them is a cool game that I'm presently developing!

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The Young Person's Guide to Arduino & Avocado Beginner Board

The Avocado Beginner Board makes learning programming simple, fast, and fun. With the Avocado Beginner Board, Young Person's Guide to Arduino, and an Arduino (not included), you can learn how to program at a fast and engaging pace. 


Why the Avocado Beginner Board?

While there are hundreds of circuit boards designed to help you do complicated things easily with the Arduino, there is no board to help you do the basic beginner programs. Now there is ... the Avocado Beginner Board. It is collects all the beginner circuits into a nice little board that allows you to focus on the programming instead of the wiring.

Easy Arduino projects are not so easy to wire
Easy Arduino projects are not so easy to wire

What can the Avocado Beginner Board do?

The Young Person's Guide to Arduino will have at least the following 15 projects for beginners:

Starter Projects:
  • Pin 13 light - turn on the Pin 13 light on the Arduino
  • Pin 3 light - turn on the Pin 3 light on the Avocado Beginner Board
  • Blinking lights - turn two lights on and off
  • Button lights - turn lights on and off by pressing a button
  • Beating lights - make the lights turn on and off like a beating heart
  • Tone generator - make the Arduino output a sound from the speaker
Beginner Projects:
  • Knob changes lights - Make lights turn on and off slower or faster by turning a knob
  • Rolling dice - press the button to make lights turn on like a dice is rolled
  • Crazy lights - Lights flash on and off randomly.
  • Fake cell phone - Make the Arduino sound like a cell phone.
  • "It's my turn" timer - Arduino counts down so everyone get's their turn.
  • Temperature lights - Arduino turns on lights depending on how hot or cold it is.
  • Doorbell - Make a doorbell out of the Arduino.
  • Burglar alarm - Arduino makes a noise when a burglar comes around.
  • Dark-activated lights - turns the lights on when it gets dark.


With the Avocado Beginner Board, no wiring is needed. Nine LEDs, a light sensor, temperature sensor, two switches, and a speaker are permanently wired to a sturdy circuit board that snaps right into an Arduino microcontroller. With the Avocado Beginner Board attached to your Arduino, it is fast and easy to create programs and see instant results.

The Young Person's Guide to Arduino

One of the great things about working with the Avocado Beginner Board is how quickly you can iterate and experiment as you learn. This is facilitated by the Young Person's Guide to Arduino. Just like a science class, students learn through iterative experiments of increasing complexity. Each lesson then starts with fundamental programming principles, a review of the commands that will be used, and an example program. After coding and executing the sample program, problems are presented that require the student to synthesize and apply their learning in new ways. Students quickly change and execute their modified code to test their assumptions. This iterative approach quickly builds problem solving aptitude, a critical skill for any person in a technical field.

Each chapter consists of an experiment and each experiment has four parts.

1. Description and link to a video showing how the program is supposed to work. 

2. Example program to try. This is entered into the Arduino software and uploaded to the microcontroller.

3. Overview of the programming commands were used in the chapter. How commands were used and why they were used. 

4. Word problems that expand the students learning beyond the the example program. Two types of problems will be posed:

  • Type 1: What do you have to change in the program to change the result to X? Perform the change and see if you are correct. 
  • Type 2: If you changed Y in the program, what do you think will happen? Try it out and see.

There will be an index of the commands used in the book so that students know exactly which page to see when they need to remember how to use a certain command with the Arduino.

Avocado Beginner Board at the 2013 Albuquerque Maker Faire

The Functional Prototypes

Six assembled Avocado Beginner Boards prototypes have been produced and 65 pages of the Young Person's Guide to Arduino have been written! Two prototypes were sent to a professional circuit board maker to qualify the design and verify the quality of the supplier. Upon receiving the bare boards, I assembled the first board of each prototype myself. The other two boards were assembled professionally to test the production process and obtain accurate quotes for assembly. All six boards were tested and verified to be working as intended.

The first 65 pages of the book are already written. It will be professionally published as a perfect-bound book. Presently, I expect it to be 75-100 pages. An answer key for all the problems will be included at the end of the book. 

The Production Plan

With this Kickstarter, we intend to make a minimum of 100 boards. The funds requested will go toward procuring PCB boards, the electronic components, professional assembly, and publication of the Young Person's Guide to Arduino. 

Based on real data gained from producing two generations of prototypes, discussing modest ramp up with the vendors, and economies of scale, I created a Microsoft Project plan. Based on conservative dates, I have high confidence in my ability to deliver the product on time. All vendors are American companies shipping from US cities. Final assembly and testing will occur in Albuquerque, NM. The initial Kickstarter orders will ship from our business headquarters in Albuquerque, NM.

Project Progress

The Avocado Electronics T-shirt

Risks and challenges

At the beginning of this project, we were confident because the prototype was quite far along and the main work left to accomplish was the completion of the book.

Now with seven days left, we are super confident. The second generation of the prototype has been built and tests excellent. We have already prepared our final order for 100 circuit boards!! The book is almost done. I have written 65 pages so far. Copyediting has already started on the pages I have finished. The publishing house is ready to receive the final version and I expect delivery of the first copies two weeks after submission.

As I said before, I have extensive experience writing non-fiction, having authored journal articles and a PhD dissertation. I am also experienced in writing for young scientists. Over the past few years, I've written a handful of grade-school science lab lessons for parents to work through with their children. I don't expect any difficulty in completing the guide.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 1 or more About US$ 1.00

    Thanks for supporting the Avocado Beginner Board!

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    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Acknowledgement: Every backer who supports at $10 or more (including other rewards) will receive the opportunity to have their name included in the acknowledgments section of the Young Person's Guide to Arduino. Thank you for your support!

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    An awesome Avocado Electronics T-Shirt with our 70's style retro logo.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Early Bird Geek: For the more adventurous, receive an UNASSEMBLED Avocado Beginner Board kit and one professionally printed Young Person's Guide to Arduino. Inside the guide, you will find instructions for 15 beginner projects. This kit requires soldering all components onto the Avocado Beginner Board.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Early Bird: Receive a beautifully ASSEMBLED Avocado Beginner Board and one professionally printed Young Person's Guide to Arduino. Inside the guide, you will find instructions for 15 beginner projects. NO SOLDERING.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Proud Geek: Logo T-Shirt + UNASSEMBLED Avocado Beginner Board + SIGNED guide. For the more adventurous, receive an UNASSEMBLED Avocado Beginner Board kit and one professionally printed Young Person's Guide to Arduino. Inside the guide, you will find instructions for 15 beginner projects. This kit requires soldering all components onto the Avocado Beginner Board. We will also include an awesome Avocado Electronics T-Shirt with our 70's style retro logo. The guide will be personalized with a note inside the front cover and be signed by the author.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Logo T-Shirt + ASSEMBLED Avocado Beginner Board with STACKABLE headers + SIGNED guide. Receive a beautifully ASSEMBLED Avocado Beginner Board and one professionally printed Young Person's Guide to Arduino. Inside the guide, you will find instructions for 15 beginner projects. NO SOLDERING. We will also include an awesome Avocado Electronics T-Shirt with our 70's style retro logo. The guide will be personalized with a note inside the front cover and be signed by the author.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    HOLIDAY DELIVERY: For those of you looking for a gift, we're going to try to fast track a limited number of boards and books. We're going to do our best to rush them to you during the week of December 16th. Receive a beautifully ASSEMBLED Avocado Beginner Board by Christmas and one professionally printed Young Person's Guide to Arduino. Inside the guide, you will find instructions for 15 beginner projects. NO SOLDERING.

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    Limited 15 backers
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Funding period

- (30 days)