Meet the east Hull entrepreneur whose thumbnail-sized invention can control cars and robots

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 2 Jul 2018

Like so many young children, a four or five-year-old Hayden Barton enjoyed taking things apart to see how they worked.

But by the age of 12, he was designing his own websites, fixing mobile phones and computers and tinkering with electronics, all from the comfort of his own bedroom in east Hull.

Fast forward another ten years, and the entrepreneur has created the world’s smallest Arduino, a thumbnail-sized piece of hardware which can control and interact with objects.

Hayden is now based in Hull’s innovative C4DI building and, complete with a Chrysler car which he can control using one of his inventions, has established himself as a leading digital player.

He said: “I was always taking things apart as a kid, to see how they worked and to put them back together.

“From there I started making little circuits and fixing phones and things, but this Arduino is the first mass public product I have made.

Hayden's own Arduino (left) is the size of a thumbnail

“I used to make them by hand, and it would take me about five minutes for each one, but now I have a machine which can make batches of them.”

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The Arduinos Hayden makes are the size of a thumbnail, making them the smallest in the world.

Previous Arduinos were much bigger and more expensive, the 22-year-old said, and Hayden now has plans to make an even smaller version.

Hayden with one of his Arduinos

It can be used to control flashing, lit-up signs, interact with robots and cars, and much more.

“You could put one into a greenhouse and it would control the temperature and lighting,” Hayden said.

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“I got involved in the C4DI when I went to a hardware meetup. I got talking to John Connolly (managing director of the C4DI) and I ended up with an office here.

“Quite a few people have been impressed by the work I do. I have had articles written about me in languages I cannot read.”

An Arduino is used to control the sign on Hayden's office door

Hayden said most of his family worked in hands-on jobs such as bricklaying, and joked he had got his flair for electronics and programming through “a lot of late nights.”

The entrepreneur said he hoped to reduce the price of his arduinos to around £5-7 in the future.

Read more: Innovative education company launches in Hull's C4DI

Dileepa Ranawake, community manager at the C4DI, described the work Hayden was doing as “incredible.”

“It just shows what you can do with a bit of perseverance and ingenuity. The Arduinos Hayden is making are a great example of things are becoming more accessible.

“They are also a massive enabler for people who want to go into their own projects. They provide a perfect platform for that.”

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