Engineering mindshare starts with young minds.

April 2nd, 2013 by

By Andy The

Back when I was earning my engineering degree, I worked on little processor boards.  Whether it was for a class project or a competition, it was fun and rewarding to work with the low-cost development boards.  Interestingly, I still remember the names of the companies that made those boards.

Getting technology into young hands can be a great strategy for technology companies.  Making products accessible to young people not only promotes learning, but it also plants a seed.  As a young mind matures, that small seed can turn into mindshare.  That mindshare, of course, could influence engineering project decisions.

ARM Holdings has created a project called Raspberry Pi and not only does it have a cute name but also an attractive price.  For $40 you get a small credit card size board with an ARM Cortex M3 processor along with USB, HDMI, Ethernet, RCA out, SD card slot, and Linux.   Raspberry Pi has been a hit with hobbyists and students because of the low price and the rich peripherals.

Here is a fun article that talks about the The Big Bang fair in the UK.  The fair is focused on young kids and young adults showing off projects built on the Raspberry Pi board.  From small automated robots solving a Rubik’s cube to large scale Lego Mindstorm machines, the projects were creative and impressive.

ARM did a great job of getting children and young adults to use their technology in a fun and interactive way.   In the future there is no telling where some of those young minds might land in the technology field.   They could be heading up the next cell phone design or the next automated dishwasher, and they’ll have fond memories of working with ARM devices.

Perhaps companies should begin thinking small, as in how to work more with young minds.

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