Getting Started with Arduino

Getting Started with Arduino is a brilliant way to expand your creative talents!  Arduino is a great piece of kit for designers, artists and makers looking to implement electronics into their creations but aren’t sure how to.  Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform, its very very flexible and its software and hardware is easy to use.  As with many open source platforms there’s a huge helpful community out there offering advice should you find yourself in a sticky situation with your Ardunio code or connections.  A great feature of Arduino is that  it doesn’t matter if you are using a Mac or Windows as Arduino works with both as well as Linux operating systems.

If you are completely new to Ardunio and have never tried anything like it before – don’t worry! It may take a few attempts to get it right but once you have got it, you’ve got it!! So keep at it and you’ll be making amazing creations in no time! And Don’t be scared!

You can create allsorts of wonderful wacky things using Arduino, check out this great creation here-

 

 

 

Who’s it for?

Arduino is intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.  Arduino benefits lots of people from different backgrounds.  At Pinso, we have seen jewellery designers, product designers, furniture designers, lighting designers and hobbyists using Arduino to create fantastic designs.  Broadly speaking in our experience we see Arduino being used for two purposes:- researching and testing the implementation of an electronic set-up for your design and for actually implementing the Ardunio into your design e.g. installation.

For example, if you happen to be a funriture designer maker and would like to create a piece of interactive furniture that requires electronics then it is possible to do so using Arduino.  Using Ardunio you can connect motion sensors, motors and gears to create the movements in your design giving your piece of furniture an interactive feature without having to source any expensive electronic engineers!  Arduino has been used in the research of interactive jewellery designs, firstly the designer used Arduino to test the interactive features of the design – see if its fun, see if other people find it fun.  After the testing phase using Arduino, the designer now enlightened with the basics of electronic schematics drew up plans to get the Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) printed and made a batch run of high-tech interactive jewellery.

 

How Arduino works.  

Arduino can sense the environment by receiving input from a variety of sensors and can affect its surroundings by controlling lights, motors, and other actuators. The microcontroller on the board is programmed using the Arduino programming Language and the Arduino development environment. Arduino projects can be stand-alone or they can communicate with software running on a computer (e.g. Flash, Processing, MaxMSP).

Some clever people can build the Arduino boards however if you don’t possess this knowledge then it can be purchased preassembled – the ardunio starter kits range from about £35-45 GBP (some are much better than others).  The Ardunio software can be download for free :) yeeeaah!

This is what an Arduino board looks like –

Check out the ‘MADE IN ITALY’ at the left corner – so posh!

It can look intimidating to a newbie but it wont take you long to conquer all the connections, pins, LED’s everything!  So be brave! Below is a screenshot of the coding for arduino, don’t worry if you don’t understand it at first, you will after you get stuck in.

 Screenshot of Arduino interface

If you have never used Arduino before which is likely if you are reading this, then check out the Arduino starter kits which include: Arduino, USB cable, Breadboard and many little usefull add ons such as LED’s, motors, gears etc.  Arduino is compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux to find a guide for you operating system have a look at Arduino installation instructions here for the basic setup.

We feel we should mention the people that made Arduino a reality, they are:- Massimo Banzi, David Cuartielles, Tom Igoe, Gianluca Martino, and David Mellis. Thank you!

 

There is a HUGE amount of free information online for Arduino users, there are great community boards, forms etc.

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