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Arduino, Arduino, where art thou?

After a few days of contemplation I have decided to dive into the world of Arduinos. Initially, I was introduced to the world of microcontrollers by my boss. He is a hardcore PIC guy and has been developing on those for many years. However, I am not nearly the electronics guru that he is.

After a few small projects I did get the hang of working with a PIC and developing a PCB. I created a cool little board that takes serial in and puts it back on the line as an echo and also puts it out on a little 16x2 LCD. I built in a few commands to tell the board what to put on the LCD on startup. It was a great exercise in electronics and microcontroller development. It culminated with me sending my designs for PCB printing. They turned out great and I soldered on all of the parts (plus a few jumper wires, oops) and was quite proud.

So, now that I felt a little more comfortable I wanted to see what else was out there. I'm starting to venture into the FPGA world a bit but that is for another project at work. I wanted something that I could do, in my spare time, to build upon what i learned in my PIC projects. In stepped Arduino.

I've been hearing the buzz about these little guys for quite a while. Now it was time to find out more information about what they could do. Today, I sit waiting for my order to arrive from SparkFun. I got the inventors kit that includes an Arduino UNo and enough parts and pieces to create 14 unique circuits. Servos, diodes, pots, and a ton of other geeky stuff. I'm pretty excited.

Over at the Arduino website you can download the open-source compiler and uploader software. You can learn a ton about the boards from their fantastic documentation. You can contribute on the wiki and forums. It's a really great community. The language they use is C/C++ based and they have great libraries. I'm very excited about this venture and can't wait to post a few Arduino projects!

Arduino UNo

SparkFun Inventors Kit