Even though I am a beginner regarding electricity and electronics, I am fascinated by the countless number of the gadgets one can build based on basic, cheap components. I am always trying to find ways of developing or adapting electronics to be used in my research. So far, I have adapted iButton loggers to construct biomimetic temperature and humidity sensor/loggers, improved a device to record heartbeat rates in invertebrates and build miniaturized submersible microphones.
Home-made apparatus to record heartbeat rates in invertebrates
Field biologists often gather vast amounts of data (high resolution environmental data, for example) that would require an entire lifetime just to analyze them if there was no way to automate the analyses. That is the reason why I became interested in programming. I started learning some Bash and C++ language, but my programming skills never took off until I started using R. For me, R has some great features: (i) is free; (ii) R is much easier to learn than 'hardcore' programming languages such as Fortran or C++; (iii) there are so many packages available that often it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel; (iv) because many functions are already written, it is really fast to assemble a very powerful piece of code; (v) it is easy to find support and help in the user community.
R is a great programming language for beginners