Arduino and libraries

Last year I wrote a post about my experience with the Arduino open-source electronics and computing platform. Since I wrote the post, I haven’t really done much with my Arduino. I built a few of the projects in the book that came with the kit, but I haven’t come up with my own creations yet.

The makerspace movement in libraries has taken off since I wrote the post last year, and many of them use Arduino as part of their programs, for example Melbourne Library Service, and Duxbury Free Library in Massachusetts. From my limited use of Arduino, I think it is a useful addition to a makerspace. It’s a good introduction to electronics and programming, and the components are relatively cheap to purchase. And being open source means that participants who really get into it can have a play around with the underlying code. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some examples of my Arduino creations for next year’s #blogjune.

Finding my creative spark

When I was a kid I got an electronics kit for Christmas or a birthday present. It came with a whole bunch of components on a board, and you used wires to connect them up to make various circuits. Well, I recently bought the modern version of this kit – an Arduino board. According to their website, “Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software.” You buy the board and some electronic components, download the software, program the circuit, and upload it to the Arduino.

I’m very much still at the learning stage with it. The kit I bought is the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit, which comes with the components you need to build some basic circuits which teach you about the basic principles of circuits. So far I’ve managed to get some LEDs to flash, a servomotor to spin, and used a photocell to change the brightness of an LED.

All hooked up

All hooked up

At this stage I’m not exactly sure where this will take me. There are a whole bunch of cool sensors and components that you can buy for the Arduino which let you create some amazing projects. A couple of examples that I found are a reverse geocache, and The Inebriator. Both of these are well outside my skill level at the moment, but hopefully I’ll be able to come up with something cool. There’s a few boxes of Lego at Mum and Dad’s that could be useful. Hmmm …