Arduino is a powerful but easy to use single board computer. It has gained significant traction in the professional and hobbyists’ world. The Arduino is open-source, implying that the development software is absolutely free and hardware is favorably priced. For users confronting Arduino for the very first time, a brief history can be a nice welcome.
It was developed in Italy to come up with inexpensive hardware to be used for interaction design. The hardware comes in different flavors from varying sources. Sparkfun is a great source of the hardware in the U.S. For example, Arduino Uno Board is good for educators and students. This board allows you to write programs, develop interface circuits to read sensors such as switches. You can also control lights and motors.
This programming language is an easier version of C/C++ language. For people who are conversant with these languages, Arduino is no stranger. If you don’t know C, you will easily get familiar with it as you require just a few commands to perform important functions. One important feature of Arduino is that the user can come up with a control program on a host computer, download the program to the Arduino and it runs automatically.
The board is connected to the computer to debug your program. Once this is done, the host PC is no longer needed. Even after disconnecting the USB cable from the computer, the programs still runs each time the reset button is pressed. Another amazing thing is that when you remove the battery and keep the board in your storage cabin for six months and then reconnect it, the last program that you stored will continue to run.
A battery is used to power the Arduino board for a stand-alone operation. A 9V battery is usually used; the battery snap leads are soldered to a DC power plug then the power jack is connected to the board. CAUTION should be taken when using the battery. Connecting your battery snap leads the wrong way could blow out your board. Once connected to the battery, the board blinks as the program runs.
How it works
When you connect the board to the PC, the battery is not needed. A green PWR LED lights and a program that was burned into the board continues to run. Remember that the board should not be placed on a conductive surface as this will cause shorting out of the pins located on the back of the board.
To create and run programs (mostly referred to as “sketches”) on the Arduino, you can use Embrio. This is a visual programming environment that is easy to learn and use. It is a serious development tool for embedded software. Embrio allows you to write Arduino code into a node and then use the powerful architecture to define the control of your program. You can accurately estimate resource usage while you work as timing data is recorded for all nodes in the project you are doing. You can also utilize the library which has pre-made components that make interaction with the hardware easy. This saves you the time you would use in creating common node structures.
Not enough can be said about Arduino. Users should use available resources especially on the internet to grow their understanding of this great programming tool. Arduino is available in many local electronic shops and you can also buy Arduino online on various electronics websites. The parts are really cheap which makes them afordable for everybody who is interested in creating interactive projects.