Arduino is a programmable hardware interface that is used for multiple functions, among them prototyping and building electronic projects; It is small, almost as long and wide as a credit-card, and cheap too (about ksh 2500 a piece).
How it Works
How an arduino works is very simple; It takes input from pins, processes it using a program in its memory, and then output results through other pins and or the serial monitor.
Arduino uno for instance is the most famous one in the family and is based on an AVR microcontroller, specifically atmega328 that has a clock speed of 20 Mhz, which is about as much as is needed for common applications. It has program space (RAM) of about 256kb. It is not that much, and so users have to adapt to writing lean codes to save on space.
It has 6 analog input pins and 14 digital input/output pins, 6 of which are capable of PWM (pulse width modulation) output.
Code in C is written and compiled in the arduino IDE, then uploaded to the platform via usb. The arduino is compatible with several electronic components, both digital and analog. for this reason, arduino is majorly used as the primary interface of a wide range of sensors. Apart from simple components, arduino’s functionality can be enhanced greatly by use of ‘shields’.
Shields are add-ons that can be purchased separately and sit on the arduino, then extends the pin headers for reuse. There is at least a shield for every application area out there, be it networking, display or even sensing.
Apart from the ecosystem of devices and components that can go into an arduino, there is a large and extensive community behind it, so it is very easy for a new user to get on his feet fast. In case of any difficulty or problem, chances are that several others have experienced it too so finding answers and solutions is pretty easy.