1. Introduction

Goals of the perfect STEM course and what to expect from it.

In the first module of the perfect STEM Course we will move fast, but not deep. We would explore a number of different areas of technical science like electronics, Linux, programming, mobile technologies, AI without getting into too many details. The goal is for us to arrive at a working Remote Control car controlled from the phone and to learn basic concepts on which we could extend.

Entering into details

If you are interested in a particular topic that we discuss you can stop the course and explore additional materials and resources.

Everything is already ready

Most of the programs that we present in the course would already be implemented. You can just download and run them without looking into the details of how they are implemented. The Python program for controlling the motors, for example, will already be implemented and ready to use. What you should do is to download it from the site, try to run it, run it, see how it works, and then try to modify it. In this way, you would get the basic understanding of how the program works.

Building from scratch

There would be things that we would build from scratch. Programs that we will start implementing from scratch. But not that many especially in this course. 

Used hardware and Remote Control Car

Different cars and hardware could be used for this course. It is not limited to a specific car. We understand that with the hundreds and thousands of cities in which this course would be implemented it is hard to fix the course to a specific car. We would show examples with a few cars, but the knowledge is general and applicable to each Remote Control Car. What is fixed is that we are using Raspberry Pi. This and some of the others components is something that you should acquire.

Computer Requirements for the first module of the perfect STEM course

To successfully participate in the course you would need a computer. Here are the requirements for this computer.

Personal Computer Hardware Requirements

At least  2 GB RAM and i3, i5 or equivalent processor. You need to be able to read/write SD cards. So you need an external adapter if your computer does not support SD cards.

Personal Computer Software Requirements

Windows, iOS, Linux. Doesn't matter. We would be using Linux, and Windows and iOS for different tutorials, but mostly Linux when demonstrating because we would like to teach you how to use Linux, and generally because in the field of technical science you would have to use it. But you can use any operating system. 

Can you use tablets?

Technically it is possible, but the amount of work that you would have to do is... tremendous. You have to set up SSH, Python, Mobile Apps Development. Tablets are generally closed and not very smart devices designed for consuming information, not designed for creating. 


Safety considerations. Soldering or no soldering

When possible - no soldering. This is our rule of thumb.

Electronics and soldering

To quote Wikipedia:  "Soldering is a process in which two or more items (usually metal) are joined together by melting and putting a filler metal (solder) into the joint, the filler metal having a lower melting point than the adjoining metal". The way you join electronic components together is with soldering.

No soldering needed in this course

Generally, it is difficult to do electronics without soldering and we've spent a lot of time thinking how to created the course so that we could avoid soldering. The reason is that for soldering you would need an additional device and that it takes a lot of practice to do it correctly. We would show you in a video or two how to do soldering if you want to go deep and learn how. But for the whole course soldering is not needed.

Safety considerations

Few things are needed especially if you decide to do some soldering. Be careful because of excessive heat and always wear some protective glasses when soldering.