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What do you know about Arduino?

With the first ever World Arduino Day this weekend and our new Teen Hardware Course coming up this Easter, we thought we’d tell the uninitiated what this mysterious-sounding tech is all about, and share some of the most exciting Arduino projects around at the moment.

What is Arduino?

In a nutshell, Arduino is an electronics system that you can use to connect with and control physical objects. You can wire up all kinds of sensors and buttons to interact with the stuff around you. Imagine taking an ordinary object (like a shoe) and making it into something more useful (a shoe that ties its own shoelaces), more interesting (musical shoes) or something else entirely (a robot that looks suspiciously like a shoe for example). With Arduino you can do just that! Learn to develop your own interactive objects, take inputs from a variety of switches or sensors, and control lights, motors and other physical outputs.

Arduino Uno Microcontroller

Why Arduino in particular?

There are plenty of programmes and electronics hardware out there, so what’s so special about Arduino? Well the main thing is accessibility. Arduino is designed to be flexible and easy for any budding designer, hobbyist or programmer to get stuck into. Once you get to grips with the basics (which we can teach you), then you can continue to build knowledge, experiment and create projects as far as your imagination will take you.

Fire Tech Camp is now offering a five-day workshop for teens. Participants will work with their Arduino and program it to create projects of their choice, be they gadgets, wearables, sensors or robots. If that’s set your sensors whirring, book now for courses this Easter and Summer Holidays.

Arduino Events and Inspiration

If you’re already an Arduino aficionado and have a project that you’re really proud of, then get your work out there with the latest Instructables contest. There’s some really cool kit to be won and the project can be anything you want. Closing date is 5th May 2014. The contest is also a great place to find out what other people have been getting up to with their breadboards. There are so many incredible Arduino projects out there, it’s hard to pick a favourite. This top ten list from Maker Kids definitely has some contenders.

Here’s one of our favourite videos of an Arduino-powered laser, the cat bot was made following steps from Joe McManus on Instructables.

If all this has got you interested, then make sure you’re celebrating Arduino Day this Saturday 29th March 2014. Marking ten years of ingenuity, creativity and fun, this is a worldwide birthday party bringing together Arduino projects and the people who made them! There are currently UK events registered in London, Manchester, Brighton, Southampton, Nottingham and Newcastle. Or you could always just get some friends together, eat cake and tinker!

Useful Links for Getting Started in Arduino

Fire Tech Camp’s Teen Hardware Course: Getting Started with Arduino

Official Arduino Starter Kit

Technology Will Save Us Starter Kit

If you’re working on an Arduino project, have experiences to share with young people starting out in the world of electronics hardware and coding or know of any other useful Arduino links, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.