The world of technology revolves around electronic components that perform automated jobs. For this, it is necessary to have devices that are easy to program and that adapt to the tasks that are required.
Arduino is a device whose software and hardware have open source , making it an ideal tool for this type of work. In this article we will show you what an Arduino is and what are the most important advantages of using this technology.
In addition, we will teach you the most important elements that a plate has and the different applications that you can give to this type of device. Do not miss anything, if you want to be an expert in automated mechanization.
What is Arduino and what is the story behind this brand?
The single circuit board and open source software electronic platforms, manufactured by the company that bears this name, are called Arduino . They are characterized by having a single microprocessor, a RAM memory and input ports that, together, form a complete device that is used to build electronic elements of different disciplines. It also has the same name of the community that is dedicated to making this project last.
The development of both hardware and software is freely distributed and is licensed under the copyright of the GNU General Public License and the GNU Lesser General Public License. Therefore, the manufacture, distribution and marketing of these computer boards can be done by any person or company for free.
These devices were born in 2003 by a group of students from Italy whose mission was to find a tool that would facilitate their implementation for all users, whether they are beginners or have a specific profession. The main objective was that its acquisition cost is as low as possible and that it has the greatest versatility that can be given. Its name comes from an Italian bar that mentioned the Marquis Arduino I, in which the creators met during the project.
In 2005 it was the first board to be sold with an 8-bit AVR microcontroller . But it was not until 7 years later that it had an important evolution, generating new models that began to use ARM’s 32-bit Cortex M3 controllers. At the beginning, this brought some inconvenience to assemble the boards, since the AVR and ARM architectures are not the same, so the instructions for each of these had different specifications for the assembler.
Once the Arduino LLC company was formed, these boards began to be manufactured and sold by external companies, paying a commission to the owner of the computer development . At the end of 2008, the year in which it was created, the founding partners began to have internal problems among themselves. This was due to the fact that the “Arduino” trademark was registered in Italy by one of these, creating a complication when the Arduino LLC company wanted to register its trademark worldwide. Thus, in January 2015 the lawsuits for economic issues began.
In 2013, it is estimated that more than 700 thousand plates were sold by the supplier Adafruit Industries. This shows the success and acceptance of these technological devices by the public.
The Arduino foundation is created in the same year that a company association with ARM Holdings is announced, whose headquarters in Cambridge would go on to manage a significant part of this new company. Thus, fundamental strategic changes are generated that allow further progress in the commercialization of these plates of around € 30.
What are the main advantages of Arduino hardware and software?
The first thing that we have to highlight as a characteristic of these devices is the simplicity both in the programming languages and in the boards that are developed so that the software works in the simplest possible way. As we told you before, Arduino is an open source project . So any user can access the programming and make improvements for free and regardless of the degree of knowledge they have.
It supports different operating systems like Windows, Linux and MacOS. In this way, it becomes a very useful tool to run or program it with any computer, regardless of the OS. Therefore, Arduino generates compatibility between users since, by removing the barrier of OSs, it allows people to interact more frequently without having an external limitation to Arduino development.
When you need to program the microcontroller you will use a language based on Wiring, while if you want to program the environment you will have to use Processing . Which allows to develop projects in an easy way, since these programming languages are relatively simple, especially when you have already used C (or C ++) or Java .
We already told you that there are 2 microcontrollers generally used by Arduino. One is the AVR which has an electrical voltage of 5 volts while the ARM CortexM3 uses 3.3v. This generates a great variety of plates with input and output ports that allows greater versatility for the use that is intended.
For these devices to work and interact with other elements, they need sensors or actuators, which can tell you that the Arduino works independently of a computer. Or that the Arduino indicates the actions that this computer must perform.
How do Arduino boards work? Most important elements
The Arduino is made up of a board that is based on a microcontroller which can be 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 or AVR and whose programming language will be within an Arduino IDE environment . It has circuits that are integrated which are used to create instructions that will form a program that will be used so that the Arduino can interact with other devices.
Different peripherals can be connected to the microcontroller, both at the input and output interface. This is for the controller to process the data, according to the programming it has installed, and extract the information to make the instructions execute.
The other components that an Arduino has are analog, digital, ground, and PWM-type PINs . In addition, it has a reset button, indicators for power and a voltage regulator.
What kind of devices and applications can I create with Arduino? All you can do
The Arduino can be used in two large groups. One is when this tool is used as a microcontroller, which has software that works independently of any computer. This makes it possible for you to have control of the devices that interact with the Arduino through actuators.
The other group is when the board is used as an interface to a device, which must perform a certain task. For this, it is necessary to connect the Arduino different sensors or actuators, which will emit a signal to the board and this will inform the computer that it must execute a certain action. This is widely used in video games.
We will explain in more detail all the uses that you can give it:
Robotics is an ideal field for Arduino. This statement is due to the fact that, by means of these plates, mechanical movements with electronic impulses can be constructed by means of orders executed by a software program. The orders are created from a computer and it is sent by Arduino to execute them, according to the needs.
Being open source, it facilitates the inclusion of these devices, since they can be adapted to any kind of project . Either by its size as well as by the distribution of its PINs, which allow the entry and exit of electrical current in a versatile way.
Use as a microcontroller
When using Arduino as a microcontroller, what you are looking for is to control or have a certain process of a device automated . In order to carry out this task, you need an input interface and an output interface. To these will be necessary to connect the peripherals that will help to carry out the task efficiently.
Peripherals are entered into the memory of the microcontroller so that, through the processing unit, it can send the information through the output ports. That is, when they read information from outside, they carry out a certain process and send an automated response, according to the reading.
Use as Interface
It is used as an interface to Arduino, for example, when the lights turn on automatically due to the movement it detects . For this, you will have to use a computer in which you will communicate, through a USB port, that it must turn on the LED lights when it detects information captured by sensors of said Arduino interface.
The programming, for this type of operation, can be done in C / C ++ or Java or one that is not difficult for you.
You can transform your computer into an Arduino oscilloscope reaching up to 1 MHz of bandwidth. In this way you will have on the screen the representation of electrical signals graphically in an XY axis plane. This will help you to know in what time the regulations are given in the voltage input of a given frequency .
Scientific research equipment
Another frequent and very useful use of the Arduino is in scientific equipment that can measure different aspects of science. For example, it is widely used in modern seismographs or in meteorology, with which equipment with Arduino boards are manufactured. This allows obtaining, according to sensors or actuators, specific information that is used in the scientific study.
Medicine is another branch of science that uses the Arduino to obtain favorable results for human health. For example, you can create a microscope and have it collect information to store it on a computer, according to certain parameters.
Music recording studios use the Arduino as a device that controls the interconnection between instruments . In addition, it also makes changes to the microphones, computers, audio control consoles and any other equipment that is necessary to produce a digital interface.
With an Arduino, music signals of up to 16 channels can be emitted, and different equipment can be connected to each of them. In this way, it is achieved that there is a perfect balance in the coordination of musical notes, sound frequency or sending by stereo or multi-channel mode, among other things.
Surely you see them every day when you drive and you have not realized that you are in front of an Arduino. OBDuino is a fuel controller used in cars to have the most economical driving possible . Instantly shows the kilometers traveled and books used. In this way it generates average, historical and current results.
In Europe, EOBD diagnostic standards are used, which also serve to have a complete monitoring of the different components of the engine, such as oil pressure, regulator charge voltage, etc.
It is also used in automobiles and is used to control the engine idle and Check engine sensors before ignition . Another use it has is to know the amount of air that enters the intake manifold. In this task, the Arduino works directly with the vehicle’s ECU.
The Humane Reader is actually a library that can hold up to 5000 book titles that can be read on a home television . What is needed is a connection through a USB port that allows interaction between the user and the big screen. This will allow you to choose the specimen you need quickly and easily. It is characterized by having a low sale price.
The Humane PC
With an Arduino device you can emulate a machine that works like a computer, which will have a normal keyboard and a screen, which can be a television in your living room.
Although an Arduino has microcontrollers, RAM memory, audio output, input and output ports and even external storage with a MicroSD card and fulfills the function of a complete PC, it cannot be used for large programming tasks. Its use is ideal for playing games.
Arduino is also present in air navigation and is used to assist an unmanned aerial vehicle, that is, what we commonly know as Drones . Thanks to these devices, the aircraft can be controlled through remote commands, they have sensors to emit and receive radio frequency signals.
But it is not only used in aerial vehicles, but also in terrestrial ones. An example of this is remote control cars. The armies use technology that was originally based on Arduino components.
The versatility that Arduino presents is so wide that you can even create mobile phones that have recharges with photovoltaic panels. With this technology the battery life can be increased up to 50 hours. It also supports the inclusion of microphones and speakers to make a call.
Although its construction is not simple, it is not unthinkable to have an ArduinoPhone with beginner users who know some basic rules of soldering and integration of circuits.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machines
The numerical control by computer is a program that is installed in an Arduino and is used to control the position of an element at all times . That is, it is used to have extraordinary precision in mechanized processes that are assembled on a machine to achieve a precise result on an object.
The programming is carried out in a 3D dimension with the XYZ axes, determining the height, depth and width of the physical element to be obtained. This is why the numerical control by computers of different machines is called CNC.
Open Theremin One
With an Arduino you can control a theremin without having to have physical contact with the instrument, thanks to the programming that you can carry out beforehand and incorporate it into the device. In this way, you will have a highly accurate musical electronic instrument with simple programming.
A 3D printer is a clear example where you can use robotics with an Arduino board . This is done independently of any computer. You only need to incorporate the instructions so that this computing device can independently execute all the orders that you carry out externally.
It is very similar to a CNC in terms of programming, since it uses the XYZ axes. But their work is done in reverse. This is because with a 3D you must build the element from scratch, while with the numerical control you must polish that physical element so that the desired result is left.
So that you can have the contrast regulated on your television , according to the lighting level of the room in which the TV is, it is necessary to have an Arduino. The device will control the feedback of the light that emerges from the screen in relation to the natural light of the environment. This is what is known as Ambilight.
For this, it is necessary to have external sensors that can determine the degree of correction that the large screen needs to perform.