After choosing a mechatronics option in my final year of mechanical engineering, I’ve gotten more interested in electronics and computer integration. Sure, I’ve done programming in the past (and present) but there is something very satisfying about writing code on a screen and having it perform an action in the real world. With that in mind, I ordered myself an Arduino microcontroller from Adafruit and have spent the last few weeks learning the ins and outs of some of the included components. So far I’ve hooked up some LEDs, a DC motor and a servo motor to the breadboard and watched them blink and spin. The kit contains bonus material, but you can also get just the board to save some money. It includes components like red and green LEDs, resistors, transistors, jumpers, and the previously mentioned DC and servo motors. Programming the board requires very straight forward C language knowledge. There are dozens, perhaps even hundreds of tutorials online to program nearly all functions of the board itself.
What is it used for?
You may be wondering what the real purpose of the board is, but there is no definite answer to that. In reality, Arduino, being an open source hardware project, has been used in numerous projects seen around the web. Any component that can be plugged into one of the pins can be controlled, which means people have used it to create secret knock opening doors, a radio controlled lawnmower, even a laser harp. This only scratches the surface. My plans, without giving too much away, include building a panoramic camera mount and adding radio controls to household/garage items (project details will be here when they are completed). If you have any interest at all in electronics, I suggest picking one up and learning about it.