Anyone want to talk about Arduino? I've been playing with it a bit recently, and I'm wondering just how much time I should invest in it...
Arduino seems to be a microcontroller environment aimed at non-engineers, sorta like Parallax's Basic Stamp. There have been websites calling it a Stamp Replacement, in fact. The hardware is an ATmega8 or mega168 with USB or Serial interface, ISP connector, and a standardized layout of 13 "digital IO" pins and 6 "analog input" pins. The software consists of an IDE that works on top of (and vastly simplifies) gcc, some startup and library code (an environment apparently called "wiring"), and a bootloader. It runs on Macs, Windows, and linux.
It's cute. All the HW and SW is open source. I think the concept of wrapping some user-friendly IDE and pre-processing around gcc is pretty close to brilliant, but then I don't really need it. There are other advantages and disadvantages:
- + Simplified SW IDE
- not small; runtime+bootloader is approx 4k
+ moderately capable HW.
+ Standardized connector layout enables "shields."
- connector layout is 'odd'