What is Arduino?

September 23, 2015 by wendy

Arduino Uno
Arduino Uno by Snootlab is licensed under CC by 2.0

Arduino is an open source platform for creating all types of electronic devices from flashing lights to flying robots. It consists of Arduino boards, Arduino software (IDE), and the Arduino programming language. The Arduino website is an excellent source of information. This article just highlights some of the key pieces of information to help you get started!

Arduino boards

When you have an Arduino board, you can connect different things to it like light sensors, buttons, motors, and LEDs. Depending on your project, you’ll want to choose the right board, but how do you choose?

If you’re just getting started, the most basic board is the Arduino Uno. However, if you have a specific project in mind, you’ll want to make sure that the board you choose has everything you need. Take a look at the different boards available, or check out the selection guide from Adafruit.

You can purchase your Arduino board online or buy it through one of their main distributors depending on your country.

Arduino software (IDE)

Once you have your board, you’ll want to tell it to do something like blink the LED. The Arduino website has a step-by-step guide for you to follow based on your operating system. For example, it shows you how to download their Integrated Development Environment or IDE, connect the board to your computer via USB, and run your first program.

Arduino programming language

If you plan to write your Arduino programs from scratch, you’ll want to brush up on its syntax. Check out the language reference that’s filled with examples.

Arduino kits

If you’re new to Arduino, a good place to start is with a kit. Both the basic kit and starter kit contain all the components you need to build 15 step-by-step projects. You can find the tutorials online or purchase the starter kit that comes with the project book.