But what such Arduino? Why such a strange name? What can you do with this? Is this a good match for you? And if so, what is the best way to start? We’ll cover all of this and more in this article.
1. What is Arduino?
In technical terms, Arduino is single board microcontroller . But in layman’s terms? A credit card-sized printed circuit board with input and output pins that can connect various other electronic components with wires; resistors, LED diodes, motors, fans, buttons, speakers, sensors and more!
It’s basically Lego Mindstorms for adults. The Arduino board is the brain, and you can mix and match different components as you see fit, and then program the board to output signals based on the inputs (for example, press a button to turn on the motor).
2. Who invented the Arduino?
Back in 2003, students at the Ivrea Interaction Design Institute in Italy were using what was called the BASIC Stamp microcontroller in their electronics research. Unfortunately, this was expensive equipment (about $100 at the time), which led one Hernando Barragán to set out to create an inexpensive alternative as part of his master’s thesis. It was called Wiring.
Later that year, Barragan project leader Massimo Banzi split the Wiring platform into a separate direction and named it Arduino. Both Wiring and Arduino are open source projects, and both exist to this day, although Wiring hasn’t been updated since 2014.
3. What does «Arduino» mean?
In the early days of the project, before it was disconnected from Wiring, its founders would often meet at a bar in Ivrea, Italy called Bar di Re Arduino. The bar itself was named after Arduin of Ivrea, who was an Italian nobleman who ruled as the chosen king of Italy between 1002 and 1014. Therefore, in honor of this meeting place, the project was named Arduino.
4. What are the Arduino models?
First things first: Arduino is a brand name that only applies to official boards made by the Arduino company. But since the Arduino project is open source, you can find many derivatives released by other teams, often referred to in «-ino» variants (such as Freeduino).
Naturally, this leads to a confusing landscape with hundreds of options.
Even under the official Arduino brand, there are dozens of boards: Arduino Uno, Arduino 101, Arduino Mega, Arduino Zero, Arduino Due, Arduino Yun, etc. And how are they different? Processors, operating voltage, number of I/Os, RAM limits, USB port types, etc.
5. What can I do with Arduino?
All kinds of things — the sky is the limit! We’ve covered dozens of interesting Arduino projects in the past, so here’s a rundown of what’s possible.