My short bio: I am the cofounder and CEO of Microduino Inc., based in Los Angeles. My goal is to develop the Microduino community in the United States and lower the barriers to entry for maker culture so that children, novices, students and educators can participate.

My company, Microduino, was founded in 2012 by four friends. We are passionate about open-source hardware, and we are excited to bring easy-to-use, small, stackable, Arduino-compatible modules to market. The first generation of Microduino was a big success on Kickstarter, and now we are currently launching the second generation - Microduino mCookie. mCookie is much more accessible and geared more towards beginners and students.

I have a B.S. in Materials Science from Fudan University, and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics from the University of California-San Diego.

My Proof: We announced the AMA on our official Twitter and Facebook pages.

Additionally, we posted about it on our Kickstarter site:

UPDATE Thanks to everyone who participated. I'll be logging off now, but if you have additional questions, please post them and I'll check back in tomorrow morning. Thanks again!

Comments: 34 • Responses: 11  • Date: 

Valmond5 karma


I'm a curious computer guy so I have an arduino, a raspberry Pi and a bunch of old Atmega & Pic processors (among others) and it's really crazy how cheap they have become.

Question 1: How come you can buy a Nano + USB cable for <$4 on aliexpress and why should I use yours instead?

Question 2: Have you thought about more integrated microchips, say one with a wifi (or high volt relays or others) built in and not as stackable modules?

Question 3: This is a bit 1b but well, why is your product better than say, a classic Arduino?

Thanks for your time and I wish you good luck!

Microduino4 karma

Thanks for your questions, I'll do my best to answer them here:

A1: We didn’t want to build something like another Raspberry Pi – we wanted something more flexible that could be easily customized in hardware as well as software to fit the projects people wanted to build. We also wanted to move away from the notion that working with electronics meant being good at wiring things to other things, being good at soldering and good at repairing connections.

Instead, mCookie was designed as a way of leveling the playing field so that novice and expert inventors and builders alike could create electronics projects without specialist tools and without advanced programming skills being essential – though still useful if you have them. mCookie appeals to advanced users and beginners and can be used by both to learn about and create advanced, highly customizable creations. That's our selling point.

A2: We have already developed more integrated, more advanced modules that we will announce in the near future. But, I do think stackable is a good feature, it's much easier for one to make the connection.

A3: What we like about our product is that it's small, powerful, stackable and LEGO-compatible. We believe our modules are much more expansive than Arduino, but at a much smaller size (about the size of a quarter).

Our modules have other advantages - they connect magnetically, they are LEGO-compatible, you can use scratch programming or the Arduino IDE - we have a variety of good differentiators that set us apart from Arduino.

Thanks again!

crackalack4 karma

What is "maker culture", and how do you encourage kids to participate?

Microduino1 karma

I think the essence of maker culture is taking something from an idea to realization. We are trying to encourage kids to go beyond coming up with an idea - we're giving them the tools to create. We are providing them with the perfect tool/toy to easily build something in their mind and build confidence in their heart.

TuckerLauber3 karma

whats the most interesting arduino based project youve seen?

Microduino2 karma

My favorite project someone came up with was the Smart Egg project. Essentially, they used Microduino and a sensor, hidden inside a fake egg, to get information on an endangered species of vulture. You can read more about the project here:

And here:

radams50001 karma

It seems like this is a great time for something like this. Every parent I talk to is STEM this or STEM that. And, if there are any schools like mine, their Lego Robotic kits are getting old. (In fact, I could probably talk my department manager into buying a classroom set of these in the fall.) So I was wondering, what are your plans for getting these into schools?

Microduino1 karma

Hi, thanks for your question. I answered a similar question above, but to echo what I said, we believe it is important to support maker spaces in schools and to reach teachers as well as students. We have helped develop a maker curriculum and are happy to work with anyone who is interested to bring Microduino to schools.

At the moment, we do have classroom packs available for sale, which is the easiest way for a school to invest in Microduino. These are priced well-below retail and include everything a school would need.

bigrig3871 karma

I've seen your projects online before, and I know you've funded them successfully, but how do you plan on continuing this project beyond the immediate crowdfunding?

Microduino0 karma

The Kickstarter project is a great window to introduce mCookie products and heighten visibility, but mCookie does not end there, it’s just a beginning. We will continuously serve our customers/backers using our website:

We will also continue to grow with our community after the project. Our team is currently divided between the U.S. and China. Our next step is to add more branches worldwide, so we can continue to promote Microduino & mCookie and help people all over the world.

chrisgreen1 karma

Hi! How do you differentiate mCookie from all of the other Arduino-based modules available?

Microduino1 karma

Hi Chris, thanks for your question.

Our modules are small, stackable and powerful (and, they are compatible with Arduino). Our modules ultimately provide more expandability in a much, much smaller size, about the size of a quarter.

Our modules are much easier to connect as they are magnetic and support LEGO. We also use scratch programming, which makes it easier for people who do not know how to code (those that do can still use the Arduino IDE). Overall, our goal was to make this the easiest tool possible, and to help everyone, including novices, bring their ideas to life.

[deleted]1 karma


Microduino0 karma

Hi Jmax, we'd be happy to help. Why don't you send me a message here with your email address and I'll be in touch.

As far as more information online, you can find it here:

bradmont1 karma

Just getting into arduino, but one of the things that I immediately love is that the boards are open source. Are yours?

Microduino1 karma

Yes they are, and you can read more about them on our wiki:

markeq1 karma

Hi, please would you let us know what open source license the microduino are/will be licensed under, and which hardware parts will be licensed?

Microduino0 karma

We are keen to support the open source community as much as we can. We have already released the Microduino-Core and Microduino-USBTTL design files to the community so far. As both of these are Arduino-Uno based boards, they are already in the public domain so there is no need for us to apply any further Creative Commons (CC) terms to the use of the designs.

With regard to the other Microduino modules, including the latest mCookie modules, these are all original designs created by the Microduino team. We have not released any of the designs and PCB files for these into the public domain at this time in order to prevent deliberate plagiarism of new products at launch (this has been an issue in the past and we need to protect the designs and give the products the best opportunity for success).

If you would like access to code tutorials and other open source resources to help you code for mCookie modules, we have an extensive archive of material and information on our Wiki at You can also contact our customer support at [email protected].

jfrankmiller1 karma

It seems like every day we hear about new STEM initiatives. How do you plan on bringing this to a wide audience and making it a reality? Also, this might be geared to students, but what about the educators? Do you plan on doing any teacher education?

Microduino0 karma

The goal with our project is to lower the barriers of entry for kids, educators, inventors, makers and designers all over the world who are interested in creating modern electronic projects. We wanted to create a range of electronics project components that could interlock and work together with the same simplicity as a building block system like LEGO, but with the same powerful computer capabilities of an electronics hobby board like Arduino. We wanted to build something that would be as appealing and useful for novices as it would be for electronics experts and coders.

In short, our plan for bringing this to a wide audience is to make it as accessible as possible, which we've done with mCookie. We've eliminated the need for soldering and coding, which are both expert skills. By supporting Scratch, an open-source program that lets you drag and drop prewritten code, we believe we've made this accessible to many more people.

As far as teacher education, our goal is to get into as many classrooms as possible and support STEM education initiatives. That means we need to reach teachers as well as students. We are currently offering classroom packages for interested teachers, and we have worked with schools to develop maker spaces and maker curriculum, which we will continue to do.

rsschomp1 karma

What do you think of IT/Electronics/Maker culture being wedged into the schools curriculum awkwardly vs having real classes and modules that focus on these areas solely? How can we help teachers push for the latter?

Microduino1 karma

I know Microduino can certainly help. We have been doing Microduino creative classes in many schools and universities. All teachers and students loved it.

We also believe it is important to support maker spaces at schools. I understand your point about awkwardly sticking something into an already packed curriculum, which is why maker spaces and clubs are a great way to bring maker culture into the education system.

With Microduino modules, students can easily build something themselves, without long development cycles, messy wires or dangerous soldering. It is an ideal way to help students be creative and learn critical technical skills.