The Arduino has made electronics projects more accessible and has helped hobbyists and designers alike come up with an incredible range of products and projects.
Arduinos have been used for projects as diverse as a breathalyser, a self-leveling Segway, a remote controlled car steered via the internet and putting plants on Twitter. There are no end to the uses and there are communities that are fast building around the Arduino and its potential uses. So far, we've only scratched the surface.
It's a single-board microcontroller that can be brought pre-assembled or as a DIY kit and comprises an open-source hardware board designed around an 8-bit Atmel AVR microcontroller or a 32-bit Atmel ARM. The software relies on a standard programming language compiler and boot loader.
The connectors are exposed to allow the CPU board to be connected to a variety of interchangeable add-on modules known as shields. Shields can be stacked and used in parallel, which opens up a number of possibilities. Most boards include a 5-volt linear regulator, though some run at 8MHz and don't use an onboard voltage regulator.
The ArduinoÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ´s microcontroller is pre-programmed with a boot loader to simply uploading of programs to the on-chip flash memory, so there's no need for an external loader.
By mid-2011 it was reckoned that more than 300,000 Arduinos had been sold commercially and that number is set to grow significantly as the community grows and the Arduino becomes more commonly known.