Arduino is an open-source electronics platform, based on easy-to-use hardware and software. The boards are able to read inputs: light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message. And turn it into an output: activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online.
Thanks to its simple and accessible user experience, it has been used in thousands of different projects and applications. The software is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users.
The hardware design is open-source. Therefore, many cheap, compatible microcontrollers exist. The hardware reference designs are distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.5 license and are available on the official website.
Origin of the name
The name comes from a bar in Ivrea, Italy, where some of the founders of the project used to meet. The bar was named after Arduin of Ivrea, who was the margrave of the March of Ivrea and King of Italy from 1002 to 1014.
Getting started with Arduino
If you want to quickly learn how to use Arduino, it is best to start with a starter kit. Seeed Studio’s “Grove beginner kit for Arduino”, for example. This is an affordable and complete kit that allows you to build projects quickly. The kit is based on the Grove system with which you can easily connect the parts of the kit together.
If you want to build more extensive projects, you can also take a look at more powerful microcontrollers with more options. Two popular controllers are the ESP8266 with WiFi, and the ESP32 with WiFi and Bluetooth.