Category: my projects

Maybe you can tell from my background image that I’m a big Arduino fan.

Just look at it, its gorgeous! All those beautiful input/outputs! USB connectivity! A reset button if all goes wrong!

Well, ok, enough fanboy enthusiasm. I think that the biggest reasons why the Arduino boards are so popular are the contributions of the sizable Arduino community and the well developed IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

When I got my Uno board last year, I quickly blew through the example programs and set out to write the programs that I was interested in. The forums were very helpful as I muddled through my first few newbie challenges.

The IDE is so easy to use. It takes care of all of the code verification, compiling, communications. And the Arduino flavor of C code isn’t very hard to learn.

I know of no other micro controller board that is so painless to get started with, and I think that’s the single most important qualification for widespread adoption, even for non-engineering types.

Arduino was easy to pick up, and now I can’t put it down.


What is physical computing?

Wikipedia has a pretty good definition for starters. An excerpt retrieved today:

Physical computing, in the broadest sense, means building interactive physical systems by the use of software and hardware that can sense and respond to the analog world.

In this blog, I’m focusing specifically on what can be accomplished with microcontrollers and single-board computers, inexpensive devices that can process real world inputs with simple software, and ouput some really amazing, dynamic processes.

Really, ‘physical computing’ is a fancy name for what I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to do with electronics for years. To me, it represents automation plus innovation, minus the perspiration. The ability to hack my house, my appliances, my car, my stuff. The ability to build features into my devices that weren’t part of the manufacturers design.

This means I can be a maker, not just a consumer.

As I’ve been learning how to use my Arduino Uno, I’ve been relying on people a lot smarter than myself, and copying a lot of successful projects. Its been a brilliant way to learn.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog and I hope that you get yourself a microcontroller board too.