There was a time, a time that many of your parents will remember, when using a computer required some kind of an understanding of how it worked. On some of the first computers, such as the ZX Spectrum or the Commodore 64, users had to write their own software. Of course, things are much more user-friendly now. Computers and laptops come pre-loaded with suites of software and it is very easy and quick to download any additional software that you need.
Many children now learn to programme as part of their normal curriculum. Most of us will have experienced lessons relevant to coding in some form at school, and it is easy (and free) for anyone to learn how to code online.
The Arduino offers a way for experienced coders to apply their coding skills to real-world problems, and for newcomers to learn the basics in a fun and interactive way.
What is the Arduino?
In short, it is a palm-sized computer. The Arduino is a type of device known as a microcontroller. A more famous example of this type of device is the Raspberry Pi, which is very similar to the Arduino in terms of what it can do. Microcontrollers look like circuit boards to most people. Those who have seen inside a computer before may be able to identify them as a miniature motherboard with ports and other connections.
The controller can be connected to a computer via a USB connection, where the user can write the code they wish to run on it. Or, an LCD screen can be attached, along with a keyboard and mouse, and the user can write code directly onto the controller itself.
It is easy to get started with arduinos buy buying a kit, before purchasing a kit make sure it is the right one for your needs. I suggest reading reviews, you can start with our page which reviews the best arduino starter kits.
What are Arduinos Used for?
Arduinos are used to serve a number of different functions. There really aren’t that many limitations. Just as with a traditional PC, Arduinos can be used for anything. There is a myriad of different peripherals and external sensors available. By connecting the Arduino with other smart devices in your home, the Arduino can function as a central controller, adjusting the settings of other devices according to readings such as temperature, moisture, and light levels.
The versatility of the Arduino makes it an excellent value investment. Multiple Arduinos can be connected together and used to serve distinct functions within the same system. They can even be linked with Raspberry Pis and other similar devices in order to capitalize on their different capabilities.
Choosing a Starter Kit
There is a wide range of starter kits available, both official ones and third-party manufactured alternatives. The prices range from around $20 to over $100. Each starter kit will come with different components. As is often the case with electronics, the amount that you are willing to spend will dictate the quality of the components that you are able to source.
The number of components will vary between starter kits, most of which come with booklets or other documentation that includes example projects. The booklet will walk you through those example projects from the ground up. You don’t need any prior experience in coding. However, after ordering your Arduino, while you wait for it to arrive you can look online for a website to teach you the basics of C/C++ - the languages that the Arduino uses.
Most Arduino starter kits are designed to give the user the basic components that they need to get started. If you want to try more advanced projects, then you will need to invest in some new components. You can also find some more specialized starter kits, which offer components geared towards particular functions.
The Arduino is an excellent microcontroller and makes a great controller for any smart home setup. They are also a good way of teaching kids about coding and about the potential ways they can use technology to interact with the world around them.