|Over the past couple years there have been several small micro controllers introduced.
One of the most popular is the Arduino family. Projects developed on the Arduino can be free standing (self contained) or communicate with software on a Host computer as a slave. This open source (More on this later) board is now available in several models such as the UNO, Nano, Due, MEGA and several clones such as SEEDuino, Freeduino etc. The best part of this handy design is the availability to purchase many types of inexpensive Add On boards. Many such boards (called Shields) connect directly to the Arduino to provide drive for LCD displays, RFID, WiFi, relays, step motors, DC motors and lights. There are sensor modules available for flame, temperature, water, I/R just about anything you might need. An ideal Developmental Bench for Designers, hobbyists, Mechanical Engineers and students. The Arduino is programmed using Arduino Programming Language derived from WIRING and the Development Environment based on PROCESSING. Since the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment) is a multi-platform environment you can run it on LINUX, Windows or MacOS host machines. Once you develop your program, you can down load Via USB to your Arduino. Being Open Source in both Hardware and Software allows you make your own boards, develop your own software or if youre not a programming wiz, to download drivers, modify them for your own use. All Arduino microcontroller boards, regardless of source are designed to be compatible. One quick glance at the Web & you will quickly understand why these little boards are such giants among researchers, engineers and hobbyists. There are numerous sites available with; projects, shields, sensors, software, blogs, and forums.|