Micro-controllers are low cost digital devices that offer interactive programmable hardware boards with sensors that control physical devices.

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping micro-controller platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments. The Arduino microcontroller is an open-source hardware controller which is designed to easily interface with a variety of input sensors. Then with a little bit of programming drive the responses and behaviors of external components such as LEDs, motors,  simple robots, thermostats, and motion detectors and audio devices. Arduino learning systems are an excellent entry point beginner hobbyists of all ages who want do create electronics related projects.

Arduino Microcontroller Board Front
Various Arduino Microcontroller Boards

Since it's creation in 2005 as an inexpensive platform for student design projects it has undergone continuing development, exploring the cutting edge of DIY microcontroller development. Because of its ease of programmability users with little technical expertise can go from no knowledge to a working project in under and hour. This makes for an attractive foundation for artists and designers in the creation of interactive objects and spaces. Microcontroller systems provide sets of digital and analog Input/output along with pins for expansion boards for extended capabilities. Some breakout boards offer Bluetooth or capabilities making the Arduino an optimal choice for the Internet of Things (iOT) based projects. The Arduino project provides an integrated development environment (IDE) based on a programming language named Processing, which also supports the languages C and C++. This can be done from a Mac or PC though a easy to user interface connected with a USB cable. 

It can be used to make all kinds of different things including robots, sensor systems, music synthesizers and just about anything else you can imagine (within reasonable limits). Arduino boards are available commercially in preassembled form, or as do-it-yourself kits. You can purchase them from companies like Adafruit and SparkFun Electronics

Tinkersmiths provides a range of workshops on how to use the Arduino, from a basic introduction to the hardware and its programming language to advanced applications.  Check out our event calendar at http://meetup.com/tinkersmiths for all of our upcoming events. RSVP for our weekly Monday ElectroFunk workshop if you would like some assistance getting started in micro-controller based projects.

Arduino Microcontroller Board Front
Electronic Arduino Microcontroller Front
Arduino Microcontroller Board Back
Electronic Arduino Microcontroller Back

The original Arduino hardware product was produced by the Italian company Smart Projects. The first Arduino was introduced to provide a low cost, easy way for novices , a non-technical audience and professionals to create devices that interact with their environment using sensors and actuators. 

The Arduino project grew out of the “DIY” climate. In part a response to an increasing need of artists and designers to easily prototype interactive works. The original concept for this kind of micro controller was created by the artist and designer Hernando Barragan in 2004 for his masters thesis. In 2005, the Arduino team was formed in Ivrea, Italy, consisting of Barragan, Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Dave Mellis, Gianluca Marino, and Nicholas Zambetti. 

Arduino Microcontroller Board Back
ElectroFunk Microcontroller Workshops Tinkersmiths Makerspace in Charlottesville VA
Arduino :: Raspberry PI :: Electronics

Arduino Controlled LED Twitter Board