We have all heard about the Arduino Project and its positive repercussions for the Hardware world, but the truth is that few know exactly what Arduino is and what we can do with such a board or what exactly the Arduino Project entails.
Nowadays it is very easy to get an arduino board, but we will need to know and have something more than a simple Hardware board to which a few cables and some LED bulbs can be connected.
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What is it?
The Arduino project is a Hardware movement that seeks the creation of a PCB or Printed Circuit board that helps any user to create and develop final and functional electronics projects. Thus the plate Arduino is nothing more than a PCB board that we can replicate as many times as we want without having to pay for a license or depend on a company for its use and / or creation.
This movement (Arduino Project) seeks the creation of totally Free Hardware, that is, any user can build their own boards that are fully functional, at least as functional as the boards that we can buy.
The project was born in 2003 when several students from the IVREA Institute were looking for an alternative to boards with the BASIC Stamp microcontroller. These plates cost more than $ 100 per unit, a high price for any student. In 2003 the first developments appear that have a free and public design but whose controller does not satisfy the end user. It will be in 2005 when the Atmega168 microcontroller arrives, a microcontroller that not only powers the board but also makes its construction affordable, reaching today whose Arduino board models can cost $ 5.
How did your name come about?
The Project gets its name from a tavern near the IVREA Institute. As we have said, the project was born in the heat of this institute that is located in Italy and near that institute, there is a student tavern called Bar di Re Arduino or Bar del Rey Arduino. In honor of this place, the founders of the project, Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino and David Mellis, they decided to call the boards and the project Arduino.
From 2005 to the present day, the Arduino Project has not been without controversy over leaders and property rights. Hence, there are various names such as Genuino, which was the official brand of the Project plates that were sold outside the United States and Italy.
How is it different from Raspberry Pi?
Many users confuse the Raspberry Pi board with the Arduino boards. Since for the most novices and strangers to the subject, both plates may seem the same, but nothing could be further from the truth. Arduino is a PCB that has a microcontroller, but It has no processor, no GPU, no ram memory, and no output ports such as microhdmi, wifi or bluetooth that makes us able to convert the board into a minicomputer; but Arduino is a programmable board in the sense that we can load a program and the hardware used will execute that program: either something simple like turning on / off an LED light bulb or something as powerful as the electronic part of a 3D printer.
What models of plates are there?
The Arduino Project boards are divided into two categories, the first category would be the simple board, a microcontroller PCB board y the second category would be the shields or extensions plates, boards that add functionality to the Arduino board and that depend on it for its operation.
Among the most popular Arduino board models are:
- Arduino UNO
- Arduino Leonardo
- Arduino MEGA
- Arduino Yun
- Arduino DUE
- Arduino mini
- Arduino Micro
- Arduino Zero
And among the most popular or useful Arduino shield models are:
- Arduino GSM Shield
- Arduino Proto Shield
- Arduino Motor Shield
- Arduino Wi-Fi Shield
Both plates and shields are the basic models. From here we will find kits and accessories that will have the purpose of making Arduino develop a more specific function such as the CloneWars project that creates kits to transform an Arduino MEGA board into a powerful 3D printer.
What do we need to make it work?
Although it may seem illogical or weird, for an Arduino board to work properly, we will need two elements: power and software.
First of all it is obvious, if we are going to use an electronic component, we will need energy that can be extracted from a power source or directly from another electronic device thanks to its usb input.
We will obtain the software thanks to the Arduino IDE that will help us create, compile and test the programs and functions that we want our Arduino board to have. Arduino IDE is free software that we can get through this website. Although we can use any other type of IDE and software, the truth is that it is recommended to use Arduino IDE since It has maximum compatibility with all the official models of the Arduino Project and will help us send all the code data without any problem..
Some projects we can do with an Arduino board
Here are some of the projects that we can carry out with a simple plate of this project (regardless of the model we choose) and that are available to everyone.
The most famous gadget of all of them and the one that has given the Arduino project the most fame is without a doubt 3d printer, especially the Prusa i3 model. This revolutionary gadget is based on an extruder and an Arduino MEGA 2560 board.
After the success of this project, two parallel projects were born that are based on Arduino and related to 3D printing. The first of them would be a 3D object scanner using a plate Arduino UNO and the second one is a project that uses an Arduino board in order to recycle and create new filament for 3D printers.
The IoT world is another of the niches or areas where Arduino has a large number of projects. Arduino Yún is the preferred model for these projects that makes electronic locks, fingerprint sensors, environment sensors, etc ... In short, a bridge between the Internet and electronics.
This is a small summary of the Arduino Project and the Arduino boards. A small summary that gives us an idea of what these plates are, but as we have said, their beginnings date back to 2003 and since then, the plates Arduino have been growing not only in performance or power but also in projects, stories, controversies and endless facts that make Arduino a great option for our Free Hardware projects or simply for any project related to Electronics.