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What is an Arduino

Creating World-Interacting Devices

Arduino is a free and open-source electronics platform with simple hardware and software. Arduino boards can read inputs such as a light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message and convert them into outputs such as activating a motor, turning on an LED, or publishing something online. You can instruct your board by sending a set of instructions to the board's microcontroller. You use the Arduino programming language (based on Wiring) and the Arduino Software (IDE) (based on processing) to accomplish this.

Arduino Boards


Arduino has served as the "brain of thousands of projects", ranging from simple household objects to complex scientific instruments. A global community of makers - students, hobbyists, artists, programmers, and professionals - has gathered around this open-source platform, and their contributions have added up to an incredible amount of accessible knowledge that can be of great help to both novices and experts.

Arduino was created at the Ivrea Interaction Design Institute as a simple tool for rapid prototyping aimed at students with no prior experience with electronics or programming. As the Arduino board gained popularity, it began to evolve to meet new needs and challenges, transitioning from simple 8-bit boards to products for IoT applications, wearables, 3D printing, and embedded environments. All Arduino boards are completely open source, allowing users to build them on their own and eventually adapt them to their specific requirements. The software is also open-source, and it is growing thanks to the contributions of users all over the world.

Simple, straightforward programming environment

The Arduino software is simple enough for beginners to use while also being flexible enough for advanced users. It is compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is used by teachers and students to create low-cost scientific instruments, to demonstrate chemistry and physics principles, and to get started with programming and robotics. Designers and architects use it to create interactive prototypes, while musicians and artists use it to create installations and experiment with new musical instruments. Arduino is a valuable tool for learning new things. Anyone can begin tinkering by simply following the step-by-step instructions of a kit or by sharing ideas online with other members of the Arduino community.

Arduino Uno Schematic
For physical computing, there are numerous other microcontrollers and microcontroller platforms available. Similar functionality is provided by Parallax Basic Stamp, Netmedia's BX-24, Phidgets, MIT's Handyboard, and many other programs. All of these tools take the tangled details of microcontroller programming and package them in a user-friendly package.

The Arduino Software (IDE) is easy for novices to use and flexible for advanced users. Based on the Processing programming environment, students who learn to code in that environment will be comfortable with the Arduino IDE's interface.

Open source and extensible software - Arduino software is open source and expandable by expert programmers. The language can be extended with C++ libraries, and individuals interested in the underlying AVR C programming language can move from Arduino to AVR C. Similarly, you can use AVR-C code directly in Arduino projects. A Creative Commons license allows expert circuit designers to construct their own version of the module, extending and improving it. Even novices can build the module on a breadboard to learn how it works and save money.

Getting Started with the Arduino Uno

The Arduino website describes how to connect your Arduino Uno board to the computer and upload your first sketch. The Arduino Uno is programmed using the Arduino IDE, our online and offline Integrated Development Environment. Visit the Getting Started page for further information on how to use the Arduino Software. For more information please review: The Resource Guide for Arduino Boards & Arduino-Based Kits.