April 4, 2009

Arduino - Open source electronics prototyping platform

Exceptionally boring classes made me think about some alternatives, so that I can get myself engaged in something. And some how I ended up googling about electronics. Amazingly my fingers led me to Arduino - an Open Source electronics prototyping platform.


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 on running on a computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP).

Why Arduino ?

Some of my friends are working on some electronics projects and all the time when something goes wrong they have to replace some parts or remake it again. But the open source nature of Arduino initiated projects like Fritzing, which made the job of enthusiasts much less and interesting. Anyone with common sense can understand how these stuff works and can get started in a few hours or days. The strong community support is always available whenever we are in the middle of trouble.

What is Fritzing ?

Fritzing is essentially an Electronic Design Automation software with a low entry barrier, suited for the needs of designers and artists. It uses the metaphor of the breadboard, so that it is easy to transfer your hardware sketch to the software. From there it is possible to create PCB layouts for turning it into a robust PCB yourself or by help of a manufacturer.

I'm interested. But..Where Should I start ?

The getting started section of Arduino site is complete with instructions to install and documentations to help you on the go. You can access the page here - http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/

The Arduino forum is another place where you can actively discuss your problems, doubts and suggestions. Everyone out there are so helpful and cooperative. Check out - http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/

You can also checkout http://fritzing.org/learning/ for learning more about Fritzing project.

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