What is an Arduino?

Arduino Uno

Schematic of Arduino Uno from Arduino.cc

What is an Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source printed circuit board which is used as an electronic prototyping platform. “Open-Source” means that the makers of Arduino have released the schematics and plans for the Arduino which allows other manufacturers (or makers/tinkerers) to create their own Arduino Clones, and some example of these clones include teensyduino, Seeeduino and others. However, when you purchase an Arduino (or Genuino outside of the United States) you are helping to support the continued growth and development of the Arduino.

What can you make with an Arduino?

  • A control system for a greenhouse that senses temperature and humidity and adjusts either fans or a cooling/heating system to ensure the optimal growth for plants.
  • A robot that can respond and react to user input.
  • A ‘smart’ car that can detect and respond to collisions and/or provide visual feedback through the use of cameras and monitors within the car.
  • Anything you can imagine.

An Arduino can be programmed and plugged into sensors to develop anything your mind can imagine.

To discover a possible project and/or invention, attempt to fill in the blanks in the following sentence:

I wish a _____________ existed that can ___________________________________.

The first blank is the description of a product, and the second blank describes the features of the product, such as:

I wish a “Smart Car” existed that can “Drive me to the store to pick up ice cream”. With this design challenge in mind, the Arduino can be used to solve this need, and often times once a solution to a problem is discovered, this solution can be duplicated and distributed through various channels to help other users of the product to meet their need.

Where can I buy an Arduino?

Arduino can be bought as a stand-alone device, however, components are necessary to create something useful and satisfying to make. If you are just beginning to learn Arduino I would suggest spending between $60-$90 to purchase a kit with LED’s, a breadboard, jumper cables and other components which are useful for developing Arduino projects. Some of the best places to purchase Arduino and components for the Arduino:

Who was the Arduino made for?

The Arduino was designed to drastically simplify the process of creating prototype or custom electronics. Many of the end users of Arduino are:

  • College, High School and Middle School Students
  • Inventors and Engineers of any age
  • Teachers and College Professors to help facilitate the understanding of electricity for their students

Do I need to be an electrical engineer or computer scientist to create cool projects with the Arduino?

NO! The Arduino is very user friendly with many components available online, and how-to guides, schematics and Arduino ‘sketches’ and library created by the Arduino community which continues to grow every day!

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