Word of the day: Arduino

Pronounced arr-DWEE-no

Working at a tech startup, I hang out with a lot of ‘computer people’ and I’m sure you do too – but do they build you automated thingamajigs that enables your plant to send existential tweets every time it needs watering? I didn’t think so!

My guess is most new age travelers probably do not tinker with Arduinos or think of automating frondescence verdure as often as the techies at ServisHero do. Rightfully, as these musings are intended to be behind-the-scenes of an exhibit or neatly tucked away between the pages of a Tolstoy novel. For those who wonder what it looks like, the Arduino is about the size of a kit-kat bar, does not have a screen or a keyboard and looks like the fridge magnet version of the New York City grid. This nondescript piece of gadget sounds like the techie’s version of a boggart – a shape-shifter, except it only shifts into the shape of that which is feared by computer illiterate folks like myself. That, and it also doesn’t lurk in dark spaces.

I walked back to my desk today to find this strange apparatus resembling a piece of matzah bread annexed to the teetering spine of my poor aloe plant. I’d left for a week, and it seems like the techies had commenced an entire discourse to blur the lines between botany and robotics. What looks like an ambiguously described scientific method is actually orchestrating an entirely new experience for my dear plant. Packed in with words like open-source programming and input electrodes wreckage – is the arduino actually rendering Mr. Aloe sentient?

While I can’t tinker a soldering iron to save my life, I can go on and on about the musings of a non-computer brain in a computer world – and while some of you may laugh at the simplicity of all this, know that the original industrial revolution grew out of piecework done at home, and look what became of the clunky computers of the 1970s – a plant that tells you when it’s hungry. Now if this isn’t sorcery, I don’t know what is.

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