I'll Have One of Your Finest Arduinos, Please

May 27, 2008

I've seen all kinds of really cool projects that use the fancy new Arduino microcontroller. I'm not the biggest fan of C or C++ (to be honest, I hate them both), but the Wiring model and the Processing environment seems interesting. So much so that I decided over this long weekend that I wanted to get in on the fun on purchased a kit from Adafruit. Sure I could have gotten it cheaper and ditched all the extras, but it seemed reasonable given that it comes with the Protoshield, breadboard, a couple power options, USB cable and some extra goodies to get me started out of the box. I figured it was all worth it.

I have some ideas for the normal automated plant watering, temperature-based fan controls and email and chat LED alerts, but I don't have any revolutionary plans for the device. Talking to Jason, he gave me the idea of controlling motors with the unit which got me thinking back to the Assembly-based cars we coded for in college. I can see putting together a little car that can sense and route around obstacles and he suggested mounting some IR transmitters to turn TVs in the area on and off at random, which would be pretty fun too. I caught this "Large scale DOT Matrix printer" on Hackaday too, which made me think about feeding images into the device and having it drive motors to actually create them on a large scale either like a DOT Matrix printer or a planer.

Anyway, we'll see how much I do with this thing and how far I get. If nothing else, it's an excuse to get back into hardware hacking. And if things go well, I can actually start posting projects up here. If you have any ideas for cool things to try out or questions about the unit, please post in the comments.

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