The Arduino - Uno and Movement
Project Completed: January 2014The Arduino signifies the start of the wide crowdsourcing, open-source, and programming movements for me. It was my first microcontroller (mini computer), and has been for many people.
There are many different types of Arduinos. I am reviewing the basic Arduino Uno, which I started with. It is a micro controller with around 20 inputs and outputs and is programmed through a widely understandable computer environment which hooks up through USB. It can be reprogrammed and used to monitor and control sensors, LEDs, displays, motors, GPS, digital compasses, and tons of other electronics. I even used it to control my Halloween costume one year.
(Top view of the Arduino Uno)
Many people adopted this mini computer as their first programming environment and controller because it is so easy to use. There are many online tutorials (I used Adafruit's), and since the Arduino is open-sourced, there are many different variations that have designed the I/Os in different ways for specific projects.
Another aspect of the Arduino movement is that people have created "shields" for the Arduino that stack on top of a specified one and allow for more possibilities. For example, Adafruit sells a motor shield that allows the Arduino Uno to drive DC, servo, and stepper motors more easily than without. In addition to shields, there are breakout boards which hook up to the controller by way of breadboard, but specifically hook up to the Arduino and are created for one use. These boards can act in the same way as shields, but can also be sensors or outputs such as bluetooth.
I have created a multitude of projects with the Arduino, and it is currently my micro controller of choice.