How to… Arduinos

In this set of posts:
How to… Laser Cutting
How to… Arduino (this post)
How to… Soldering 
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The arduino is a micro controller. Its a hardware device that has a piece of code written to it, which it executes. External pieces of hardware like motors, LEDs, motion sensors, speakers etc are connected to the microcontroller using IO (input output) pins, and is controlled by the code.
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Schematic of the components on a standard Arduino board
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In-depth knowledge of coding isn’t required because there is so much open source (free developed software) material available to cut something together to perform the function you want. It uses its own programming language which is similar to C++, and has its own IDE (integrated development environment).
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There are different arduinos available, with different hardware components, and good for for different applications.
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The circular Lilypad is often used for clothing and fabric applications
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For a clearer understanding of how an arduino works and where to get started, here is a step by step overview.

The general workflow process for using an Arduino is:

  • write/find online/adapt a piece of code to be run in the arduino IDE (link)
  • wire up the arduino to create a circuit, using components that the code is written for.
  • power up the device by connecting it through the USB port
  • ‘upload’ the code from the IDE to the arduino
  • watch it work!

In our short session playing around with Arduinos, we got some basic functionalities to work: LEDs, motors, and touch sensors.
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Wired up Arduino for lighting an LED. And heres how to do it.
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Using a combination of all 3, here’s an LED lighting up and motor stopping, on touch.
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Arduinos open up  lot of scope for automated projects. If you can think it, then you can make it happen!
Some creative ideas that I’ve come across online that are all controlled by Arduinos:
3D printers
quadcopters
laser harps
lightning detectors
all kinds of home automation
autolacing shoes
greenhouse monitoring
twitter mood lights (changes colour based on the mood of tweets)
knock detecting door handle lock
tree climbing robots
fire breathing animatronic ponies….
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Its just a little programming and automation, all powered by Arduino!

One thought on “How to… Arduinos

  1. I really like your “series” of posts: How to. It has a nice ring to it and you compose your posts in a very unique way!
    I haven’t worked with Arduinos yet, but it’s cool to see that a user can work with software and not require any specifc coding knowledge, the charm of open source software.

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