I am not much for DIY, home projects. I am still struggling with putting curtains up in my TV room.
However, while casually browsing different sites (including Make) I discovered the Arduino board, an easy to use electronic kit based on a powerful Microcontroller that spawned a family of companion products.
This ecosystem makes it easy to experiment with various sensors, motors, displays, actuators. Furthermore, the controller is programmable through your Windows or Mac OS X PC via USB, using the Wiring environment and programing language resembling a simplified C. Environment such as Flash or Processing interface easily to the Arduino making it trivial to plot data, log things to databases.
I thought I’d chronicle my experiments with different Arduino based projects as I painful try to remember the basic of electronics that were taught to me through high-school.
To start I bought the Arduino starter pack from Adafruit. There are quite a few different versions of the board out there, the hardware and software designs being available under copyleft. Some are USB based, RS232 or even Bluetooth; some are tiny (Arduino Nano), others a tad larger but not by much (such as the Arduino Diecimila I bought) and some have odd shapes (the Arduino Lillypad is one). Regardless of the one you get, they easily interface with your Mac/PC, programmable through a pretty neat IDE, get power through AC, USB and/or a battery and offer you access to a good number of Analog input and Digital input/output pins to control or read from a whole range of things.
Next ? Receiving my Adafruit Arduino starter pack and my first few projects.