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Prototyping 101: Arduino

If you are fond of prototyping, you are probably reading this article just out of curiosity – I truly believe you already have an Arduino of any kind at your work plot. If you do not, you can use this guide to find out how to get started with Arduino – easy and quick.

This article is special. It marks the beginning of IoT Monkey, by being its very first entry – both for the entire website and the Prototyping 101 subsection. This subsection will be dedicated to compiling a “Getting started guide” on every SBC the engineering has created already, as well as suggest more unorthodox methods for prototyping.

Getting started in prototyping can be tough and really unpleasant if you do not carefully pick your first board. You should avoid jumping out in the wild with boards not well documented or boards that are still in alpha release. I can tell firsthand, as I have almost gave up on exploring prototyping, until I found Arduino. I will surely dedicate an article to this. It is a fascinating story with a lot of debugging involved.

Me and Arduino, it was love at first sight. I felt for its extraordinary simplicity and documentation. I was amazed and on a daily basis I still am – how simple Processing is.

To get yourself started, you should equip two things first:

1) Arduino Ultimate Starter Kit with Arduino Uno included. If Amazon is not the first option in your region, make sure that you check for local vendors – I can hardly imagine a country in 2014 with any Arduino vendor.

2) Get Started with Arduino by Massimo Banzi

The learning curve that this very book follows is quite simple. It knows the contents of the starter kit and given them you are led through series of practical examples of how things work out. You cannot be caught in situation like having a guide, but not having the parts to follow it.

It takes approximately 10 minutes to come up out with what I consider it as the “Hello World” of prototyping. Flash a LED:

After figuring out wiring, breadboard and a quick introduction to buttons – all for approximately 30 minutes – this is what happens next:

Don’t get fooled by these videos. Flashing LEDs with a button is not a big deal, but it is a great example of how easy and quick things happen with Arduino.

Arduino presents an endless opportunity – all you need to do is to invest some time diving into it. Follow this section for other advices on how to get started with Arduino.