There are many ways to instantly become more attractive, but one feature should be a priority to others: the simplicity. The Arduino complies in every detail with simplicity, and this is the biggest reason to become a popular embedded system for students, hobbyists, hackers, or researchers, with a growing community where you can find documentation, tutorials and example, free tools, and a wide range of accessories.
Do you want to start building a line follower robot, a vacuum cleaner robot, an autonomous quadcopter with GPS features, or do you want to enter in the robotics field? For all of these projects and many more ideas you can use this palm-sized device based on Atmel family microcontrollers.
This single board microcontroller with its history in Italy has a long list of good points compared with other types of electronic boards, which can be interpreted as just as many reasons to be used. I write this article with the idea to explore all of these good and strong points related to the Arduino board.
But unfortunately, nothing is perfect! Always is place for improvements, as well as for Arduino which require many additional parts for a complete project, electronics and programming skills, and a computer to upload its program.
From the same unpleasant side of the Arduino, I have to add the infirmity of running a full scale operating system such as a Raspberry Pi, or at least an infirmity until a new and improved version called Arduino Tre will be released this year.
The Arduino IDE is a gold mine for developers, it is a development environment where you can write programs engineered to interface with almost all types of hardware used in robotics including here motors, sensors, LEDs, switches, other microcontrollers, the Internet, and the list continue.
Reasons to Use Arduino as Embedded System
1. From unpacking to the first application takes less than 5 minutes
You have many reasons to use the Arduino, but one of these is the simplicity. The simplicity from unpacking the Arduino and to a functional LED blink application take less than 5 minutes. The Arduino is the perfect platform for electronics projects, it is easy to connect to a computer via USB, and can be used by people who have not programmed before and up to programmers with advanced skills.
2. It is an open-source platform
The Arduino started as an open-source project and continue its tradition in the upcoming releases. It is a very accessible platform with extended and customized possibilities for both software and hardware sides.
3. A large community with friends anywhere
The Arduino is a platform based in a growing online community where a lot of programmers and hobbyists share and post examples for beginners to advanced users. Another good reason to use the Arduino community is that you can ask stupid questions without the risk to get an unfriendly reply.
4. Inexpensive means very cheap
All the Arduino boards are available at an affordable price that not exceeding $50 per board and are available from major distributors. Another reason why the Arduino is so cheap is because it is very easily to be cloned.
5. Friendly programming environment
Easy to program with a C-like programming language, the Arduino can save a lot of development time using the friendly Arduino IDE and a lot of libraries available from the community.
6. The world of microcontrollers is in the Arduino
This single board for embedded systems is based on the AVR microcontroller connected to a chip designed to provide USB connectivity. The AVRs have a large experience in the niche market like hobbyists’ tools and rapid prototyping applications.
7. Nice peripherals
The Arduino is flexible, very flexible. It offers a variety of digital and analog inputs, PWM outputs, SPI and serial interface, built-in oscillator, flash memory, on-board RAM, serial ports, ADC, or EEPROM.
8. Better cross-platform support
With C support in mind, the Arduino has GCC support which was originally written as the compiler for the GNU operating system.
9. Very resilient
As a prototyping platform, The Arduino is a strong single board microcontroller that stays alive even when you drop it or smash it.
10. Thousand of projects
Based on a large community, everyone from this community share with you his project.
11. A lot of pins
You have available a series of analog and digital pins to interface sensors, motors, switches, LEDs, and many more robot parts. 13 digital pins and 6 analog pins waiting to be connected to external hardwares and to extend the capabilities of the Arduino. The Arduino can be connected to an external 12V power source, while it can regulate both 5V and 3.3V. For applications that doesn’t require a huge amount of power, the Arduino can be powered directly via USB.
12. Push the reset button
Yes, it has a reset button to reset the program from the chip.
The Arduino embedded platform is designed around the low power Atmel microcontroller with a complete control over the hardware and an opened system that can be improved and used for prototyping of products off the shelf. If the Arduino was reality 50 years ago, the world would have been different today. But, we all should be glad to have such a powerful embedded system in our days to build the cheapest and the smarter robots.