I came across the Arduino platform thanks to Rustem Arkishbekov. Rustem is the founder of Robo Wunderkind, and in the Robo introduction video he talked about how he used to create robots based on the ‘Arduino (UNO) platform.’ In the video, he also shows little robots riding around, and that triggered me to find out more about this Arduino-thing he was talking about.
Confused but determined
At first, I didn’t understand any of it. And I was still confused after I had read the Wikipedia page on Arduino. Why would we use it? How could we use it? What does it do? I kept digging. Then I found out that an Arduino is a so-called microcontroller. It can control electrical parts (components) like LED lights, little fans, buzzers, motors (servos) and LED displays. It has a memory, it understands a specific (programming)-language, and it has a lot of electrical in- and outlets (pins) where it can send or receive signals with. A signal is an electrical current, and a current can either be on or off (It can’t be a little bit on… ;)).
If we want to turn on a light, the light should receive a signal on the pin it is connected to. All we need is an Arduino, a little breadboard, some wires, a LED and a resistor. We don’t even have to program it, and it only needs power. The resistor lowers the current to the LED a little bit. Otherwise, it’ll be too much for the LED, and it’ll break. If we build the electrical circuit and connect the Arduino to a power source, like your USB port, the current will flow from the USB port to the Arduino and through the wires to the LED, and then it will turn on. MAGIC!
Creativity and imagination
So, we can use the platform to create prototypes of electrical projects. We can try stuff out, control electrical parts and discover how things work. And if we use our imagination, we can make a project come to life by crafting a theme around it. For example: transform a dull little rotating motor into a windmill, maybe even with a LED on its roof? Maybe we’ll create a peep box! 🙂
If you have a cool idea, let me know. I’ll try to build it so we can both learn from it!
I want to find out more about Arduino, and I want to share my adventures here at Robotvilla. To be able to do so, I went looking for an Arduino Starter Kit. There are lots of starter kits available because Arduino is an open source platform. That means that anyone may produce an Arduino and sell it under another name, like DFRdino, Funduino or Geekcreit. This is why some Arduinos (and kits) are less expensive than others.
Beginner kit for Arduino
I found a cute kit called The Beginner Kit for Arduino. DFRobots.com sells it for a decent price. It’s not the cheapest, but it comes with fifteen project cards which I find very helpful. Also, all the components are bagged and tagged individually, so we don’t have to guess (or look up) what, for example, a Resistor 220R looks like when we stumble across it on a project card. Often with other kits, the components are thrown in one big bag and good luck with that. I think it’s a challenge on its own to figure everything out. 🙂 Of course, the official Arduino starter kit is also pretty, but a little more expensive. (Hey, I’m Dutch, what can I say 😉 )
I thought it would be fun to share my Arduino adventures with you, here at Robotvilla, so that we can learn and discover together!
Let me know in the comments below if you are having fun with Arduino. Or maybe you have a question or an idea!