Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software.Arduino is a piece of whacky technology used for various works. Arduino boards commonly known as micro controllers are are able to read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. To do so you use the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring), and the Arduino Software (IDE), based on Processing.
Over the years Arduino has been the brain of thousands of projects, from everyday objects to complex scientific instruments.
It is now popular among students of mid school and is widely used by mechanical engineering students. A worldwide community of makers – students, hobbyists, artists, programmers, and professionals – has gathered around this open-source platform, their contributions have added up to an incredible amount of accessible knowledge that can be of great help to novices and experts alike.
Thanks to its simple and accessible user experience, Arduino has been used in thousands of different projects and applications. The Arduino software is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users. It runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Teachers and students use it to build low cost scientific instruments, to prove chemistry and physics principles, or to get started with programming and robotics. Designers and architects build interactive prototypes, musicians and artists use it for installations and to experiment with new musical instruments. Makers, of course, use it to build many of the projects exhibited at the Maker Faire, for example. Arduino is a key tool to learn new things. Anyone – children, hobbyists, artists, programmers – can start tinkering just following the step by step instructions of a kit, or sharing ideas online with other members of the Arduino community.
There are many other microcontrollers and microcontroller platforms available for physical computing. Parallax Basic Stamp, Netmedia’s BX-24, Phidgets, MIT’s Handyboard, and many others offer similar functionality. All of these tools take the messy details of microcontroller programming and wrap it up in an easy-to-use package. Arduino also simplifies the process of working with microcontrollers, but it offers some advantage for teachers, students, and interested amateurs over other systems:
Inexpensive – Arduino boards are relatively inexpensive compared to other microcontroller platforms. The least expensive version of the Arduino module can be assembled by hand, and even the pre-assembled Arduino modules cost less than $50(NRS 5500).
Cross-platform – The Arduino Software (IDE) runs on Windows, Macintosh OSX, and Linux operating systems. Most microcontroller systems are limited to Windows but arduino isnt.
Simple, clear programming environment – The Arduino Software (IDE) is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users to take advantage of as well. For teachers, it’s conveniently based on the Processing programming environment, so students learning to program in that environment will be familiar with how the Arduino IDE works.
Feature image via Pixabay.