Wednesday, 21 March 2012

I love my new toy.

So, yesterday my new toy came through the post. It's not one of those "useless toys", or one of those toys that I will "use once and never use again". This toy was something that has real uses. Not only real uses, but useful uses too!

You've obviously guessed it by now; I got myself an Arduino.

Ok, so the stuff I have done with it so far hasn't exactly been ground breaking. Well, unless you call making a Red LED blink "Hello World" in morse code, with a nice Yellow LED blinking to inform you the end of each letter... but it had to be done, right?

Above: My new toy blinking "Hello World"

To be honest, I have always wanted to do some programming of actual hardware. Ok, so in a sense you are always telling certain pieces of hardware to do things, but there is just something really cool about actually seeing which circuits you are switching on and off and being able to see, physically, the result of your programatic statements.

So, so far I have managed to make a few simple sketches, just learning the very basics (I need to crawl before I walk, don'tcha know). I am however, really exciting about the things you can use this awesome little piece of kit for, though. I would really like to get it to do something useful in my car. Gather and display some technical data maybe? Or interact with the "entertainment system" in some way?

The thing I really love about this piece of hardware is the software that comes with it, and just how easy it is to setup and then proceed to get it working. There is nothing hard to understand (maybe a fairly basic knowledge of programming, but nothing harder than that), pretty much anyone could have a go at doing something cool with one of these - something which I think is awesome.

Fancy getting your plant to call out when it needs watering? Want to create that security system for when someone ventures into your cupboards? Maybe you just want to make something pretty with lots of little flashing LEDs - the Arduino is perfect for all of these (and obviously much, much more!)

I will keep you updated with all my latest and greatest creations, you can be sure of that!

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