Garage experimenters are to thank for tech we love today—after all, Homebrew Computer Club members paved the way from the 1976 Apple I to today’s iPhone XS.

But there’s a big difference in 70’s tech and today’s devices: most of our modern products are closed. Our laptops are cased in beautiful plastic, and we almost never glimpse the hardware inside.

The tinkerer movement is breathing new life, though, thanks to the Internet of Things. With over 12.5 million Raspberry Pi boards sold in five years, and plug-and-play smart home developer kits now selling for as little as $59, the market is catering to a new wave of tinkerers and hackers who are building connected devices and growing the IoT ecosystem. And whether you’re an at-home experimenter building DIY tech or a multinational corporation rapid prototyping the next big device, this wave of available dev kits is making it easier than ever for us to experiment with hardware.

The most recent RIoT Lunch & Learn focused on motor control kits. With today’s requirements of accuracy and reliability of motor control systems, it can be difficult to come up to speed quickly on motor control design. The L&L session highlighted readily available tools and software that engineers can use to create and test proof of concepts quickly.

Presenters Jeff Hill and Danny Newman, Principal Field Applications Engineers at Arrow Electronics, shared examples of these tools and also provided a demo.

“Our goal was to make motor control design, motor control drivers more accessible,” said Danny. “It’s supposed to make it so… any engineer, no matter what your background, could do it.”

The presenters advised the audience on profiling various motors; there are plenty of motor kits available. They also discussed generating source code, building the firmware, programming the hardware, and monitoring the performance of the motor.

The L&L session was a reminder of the power and fun of tinkering – as the presenters shared their demo, live building, coding, and operating a fan in front of the audience – you could feel the buzz of excitement in the room. Could be just the kind of session that Steve Wozniak and other HomeBrew members would have enjoyed.


The session was RIoT’s final 2018 Lunch & Learn. In the past year, RIoT hosted 32 Lunch & Learns in Raleigh and 6 in Charlotte.. Stay tuned for more information about how we’ll be expanding in 2019.


Arrow Electronics is a global provider of products, services and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. Arrow serves as a supply channel partner for more than 150,000 original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers, contract manufacturers, and commercial customers through a global network. The company maintains over 300 sales facilities and 45 distribution and value-added centers, serving over 80 countries.

RIoT is a non-profit economic development organization capturing and creating IoT opportunities locally, regionally, and globally. The next official RIoT event is Smart and Connected Gigabit Cities with US Ignite on January 22nd in Durham. Follow RIoT at for news and updates about partners like Arrow Electronics and more upcoming Lunch & Learn events.