Lately I have been doing a lot of research and due diligence for a side project that is a complete 360° from what I typically do on a daily basis. I won’t go into any detail regarding the project that I’m working on because it’s somewhat top-secret at this point but I will share something that is at the heart of the project, actually this same component is at the heart of a lot of projects. It’s the Arduino UNO Open-Source Microcontroller.
Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. The microcontroller on the board is programmed using the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring) and the Arduino development environment (based on Processing). Arduino projects can be stand-alone or they can communicate with software running on a computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP).
The boards can be built by hand or purchased preassembled; the software IDE can be downloaded for free. The hardware reference designs (CAD files) are available under an open-source license, you are free to adapt them to your needs. I haven’t been able to devote a whole lot of my free time toward this side project lately so I haven’t made it very far towards developing our initial prototype for our project but the time that I have been able to spend w/ the Arduino I’ve been very surprised by how intuitive it is once you get your head around it. The Arduino community is also growing by leaps and bounds every day and in my opinion that’s huge when trying to usher in anything new that’s tech-related.
Stay tuned, I’m sure I will be posting more about my experiences w/ the Arduino in the weeks to come as I get my head around it…