I have finally caught up with the rest of the world, and got myself an Arduino (as a belated Christmas present – why not?) in the form of the ARDX Starter Kit for Arduino from oomlout.co.uk. Already it is proving loads of fun!
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.
My first introduction to Arduino was through our RepRap exploits, as the more recent generations of electronics have been based around Arduino or Arduino-compatible spinoffs (e.g. Sanguino). I never really took the time to understand the details of the electronics designs, but the potential of Arduino was immediately apparent – if it can drive a 3D printer, what else can it do?
The Starter Kit is great, fantastically put together. The presentation is lovely, with all the parts in a project box, and the companion guide is excellent. It walks through 11 different projects, providing a solid foundation for using various common components and techniques, and includes both circuit schematics and wiring guides/breadboard layouts for each project. I tried to figure out the wiring on my own and only use the wiring guides to check my work, which was great practice for getting used to converting between the theoretical and practical circuit layouts.
It only took a few minutes to get the first project up and running – the infamous Blink sketch: