Getting Started with Arduino

By Amy Pickup    24 Feb 2012

To kick off my research, I am reading Getting Started with Arduino. Massimo Banzi walks us through the Arduino UNO with a description of the platform, inputs and outputs, and example projects to help guide the beginning tinkerer along. Arduino is intended to facilitate prototyping of interactive design.

Banzi introduces ‘The Arduino Way’: a methodology of investigation through tinkering. He shows all the best ways to really mess with what an Arduino can do. The book includes methods from hacking toys to making music via circuit bending to show the potential variety of uses the Arduino has. The more prevalent ideology of ‘The Arduino Way’ centers around the strong sense of community and collaboration among its members. One of the key ideas he mentions is “Arduino is not for quitters” and while his reference more directly addresses the way the language is structured, it’s crucial that any experimenter approach working with an Arduino as a learning experience that takes time. Patience and curiosity are key.

After detailing Arduino set up and basic coding, he explains all the major components any tinkerer may want to use. There are sensors, software, and actuators - which could be compared to input, code, and output. Digital and analog sensors on the board provide data to the software by evaluating the environment while actuators provide feedback based on the data it is given. The most commonly used actuator would appear to be the LED. He provides a more advanced example that uses a data feed from the cloud to influence colors displayed in a lamp. Seeing the more advanced provides inspiration for more interesting projects, beyond turning an LED on and off.

Things to look into:

Getting Started with Arduino. 2nd Edition. Sebastapol: Make:Books, an imprint of Maker Media, 2011.