Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform

Ever wish you had some really killer, open-ended tool that would provide you with the functionality to automate practically anything through a series of carefully placed sensors? Well, welcome to the future folks, because here comes something amazing called Arduino.

What the heck is Arduino?

Arduino is software and hardware designed to make sure that those who want to can  unleash their wildest creations. Designed for artists, designers, hobbyists, or anyone else into creating a new interactive experience, Arduino is expected to be a significant game changer. Perhaps the biggest “give” this thing has to the world at large as that it’s nearly impossible to clearly define it. This isn’t another Android device, something merely for home automation, or something crystal clear like that. Arduino is a hardware concept with the software that leaves the door wide open to potentially amazing innovation.

This thing does Windows.

Open-source Electronics Prototyping Platform
Photo by aresauburn

Windows, Linux, or OS X? Arduino doesn’t care. The provided IDE allows for easy customized programming, which is made possible with the open source gcc toolchain, wrapped up tight in Java. It’s this approach that translates into pure cross-platform bliss without any nasty aftertaste. The beauty of the object-wrapped libraries is that doing advanced stuff like talking to LCD screens, processing GPS data, etc. is already taken care of. All you need to do is plug it into something, already!

Act now; we’ll throw in a free toaster!

At risk of sounding like an infomercial, the Arduino is cheap. How cheap? Cheap enough that other open source hardware vendors are likely to watch this very closely. How does $30 grab you? Is that cheap enough for you to take a gamble and check this thing out? If you’re a tinkering hobbyist, you’re likely digging around for your credit card right this very second to see how many of these bad boys you can stockpile as thousands of potential users out there begin to put this together in their heads.

From a perspective of cost to ability, this is a development board, with a cross platform IDE that will have geeks all over the place drooling to get their grubby little mitts on this as fast as possible. Described as “techno-hippies,” the individuals behind this project may very well be destined to appear in the news again and again. The key to this happening, however, is seeing some really awesome proof of concepts rolling out of the hobbyist garage.