Takas.lk, Sri Lanka’s fast growing electronics store will be adding the TechDuino to its digital shelves from 29th March onward. The TechDuino is a programmable microcontroller which allows users to build electronics that can sense, respond to and control almost any environment. Takas.lk has partnered with TechKatha, the producers of this amazing product, to provide logistical support in order to get the TechDuino into the hands of as many people as possible.
TechKatha started off as a podcast which discussed the latest developments in the world of technology and answered listeners’ questions in Sinhala, with the goal of making technology more accessible. It has now spawned into popular live video stream which is broadcast every Friday around 9PM.
Continuing towards their goal of making technology more accessible, TechKatha created a clone of the open-source Arduino prototyping platform. Conceived to make microcontroller programming more available to Sri Lankans, the TechDuino is purely a volunteer run, not-for-profit project. All parts are sourced and assembled by the TechKatha team, their friends and listeners who are willing to lend a hand. The project was launched as a hobby and TechKatha was not expecting the huge response they received, with over 300 orders being fulfilled so far.
The Arduino and TechDuino are single-board microcontrollers that can be bought assembled or as a do-it-yourself kit. It allows anyone to program a microcontroller easily using a human-readable high level language. The applications of this is limited only by ones imagination and thousands of projects use Arduinos at their core, ranging from making a light blink to keyless entry systems to lighting fixtures for NASA.
This project aims to break the barriers of price and language to better educate anyone who is interested in learning about electronics. Purchasing an Arduino from overseas would cost around Rs. 5,000 but a fully assembled TechDuino in Sri Lanka costs only Rs. 1,550. Arduino documentation and user guides are available only in more widely spoken languages, which is why TechDuinos are specifically shipped with instructions in Sinhala. There are videos produced by TechKatha as well as other members of their viewership on how to build interesting things with a TechDuino.
Kalinga Athulathmudali, one of the founders of TechKatha, feels that Sri Lanka needs to move into the production of electronic hardware to complement its large software development industry. By learning about electronics and how to program microcontrollers you learn about the fundamental building blocks of computers; having this microscopic insight to the inner workings of computers helps when writing software on a higher, macroscopic level.
After being made aware of the challenges that this project faces Takas.lk decided to enter into a mutually beneficial partnership with the TechDuino project in order to assist with logistical issues. There has been many problems with goods being damaged during delivery and online payment concerns. Customers who purchase the TechDuino on Takas.lk can use the Cash on Delivery feature if they do not have a credit card or are uncomfortable with making payments online and deliveries will be carried out faster and safer. However, Takas.lk has pointed out unfortunately that they cannot be held to their promise of 3-day delivery with the TechDuino as the project is facing a large production backlog. Takas.lk also makes it clear that they will not be making any profit from the sale of this product and is providing assistance to TechKatha in order to promote education of electronics in Sri Lanka.
Await a complete review of TechDuino by ReadMe over the weekend!
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