Arduino and similar platforms are easy to find at local stores or online, and they are cheap. Pick one up, find a tutorial, and dive in. Have an idea for a project you’d like to try? Just try it, don’t worry if it seems complicated. Start with the simplest piece. These systems give you all the pieces you need to build network-connected objects.

Learn new skills

If you’ve never programmed before, pick up a JavaScript, Processing, or Ruby tutorial. If you’ve never designed a physical object, get some modeling clay and sculpting tools and try to make some interesting shapes. If you’ve never designed software before, try to map out a flow or design an interface; start with pencil and paper.

Be critical

When you’ve made your first new thing, take some time to think about its qualities using some of the frameworks discussed earlier in this chapter. Use what you learn from this reflection in your next experiments.

Always think about how your new device, software, or system fits into the larger connected world. What possibilities does it create? What potential does it remove? What does it give to people, and what does it take away?

You won’t be satisfied with your first attempt, but design is all about iteration. These types of new skills open many possibilities for your practice as a designer, allowing you to incorporate new technology, processes, and techniques into your work.

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