Over the weekend Chris pointed out something called Arduino to me.

I'd seen the little board powering various things on the internet, but I didn't know it was Arduino and I didn't really know what that was.

So what is Arduino? It's a little open-source microcontroller board that you can plug into your computer, send a program to it, and make it do things.

You can save your houseplant from dying of thirst, or sew it into some clothing and let people know which way you're headed. Heck, you can even talk to an Android phone with it. Basically, it can do amazing things.
For just under $22 for a Uno R3, the standard board, I was convinced. I was going to order one.

So the Arduino came today, packaged in an adorable little box roughly the size of playing cards. The packaging is pretty nice and it even comes with some stickers. The whole experience is very reminiscent of unboxing Apple products. Lucky for me, this thing is no where near the price of an Apple device.
You have the option of powering the board via usb or a wall outlet connection (which I don't own yet). I plugged the little thing into my computer, verified it was working, and got to practicing a few tutorials.

There are a ton of tutorials on the Ardruino site, including making a light blink (this is essentially the Hello World program for Arduino), using a push button, and more.

As an added bonus, the Arduino takes advantage of C (and C++). I took some C in college and I liked it a lot more than my Java class.

Do I remember any C?

No. Not really. But having taken a few programming classes does mean I understand the structure of a program faster than when I walked into programming cold, years ago in college.

I wonder if I can knit a LilyPad Arduino into a stuffed Dalek. Hmm....


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