Author: John Boxall

Publisher: No Starch Press

ISBN: 1-59327-448-3

Arduino is an open source platform which provides an environment for implementing electronic projects for applications ranging from the very simple to projects that require significant hardware resources and programming.

While the simplicity of Arduino makes it easy for beginners to start with basic projects, the range of possibilities makes it difficult to fully understand its broad capabilities. This book aims to provide a hands on introduction to the platform while bringing out the wide capabilities.

The first chapters are geared towards the beginner. While simple projects are started off early on in the book, these are geared towards providing a basic understanding of electronic components, concepts and implementing projects.

A good summary of the basic hardware needed and the sources is followed by step by step tutorial on setting up the software and the integrated development environment (IDE).

Exploring the board and the IDE provides an introduction to the major components of the Arduino board and their uses, a tour of the IDE and its features, and an example of developing a simple sketch (basically the Arduino program) from scratch.

Basics of electricity and electronics and the basics of electronic components are highlighted while introducing common components such as resistors, LEDs, transistors, diodes and relays. In addition there are guidelines on implementing good project design.

While the book’s title highlights the number of projects, many of the earlier ones are essentially carried over into more involved projects. Within each project new aspects are progressively introduced either at the component level or in using more advanced programming.

Projects are well structured as algorithm, hardware, sketch, schematic circuit layout and steps in running the sketch. Instructions on how to read a schematic diagram and practical knowledge like identifying components, ratings etc makes it easier for a beginner to follow along.

The second part of the book is devoted to the more advanced features available on the platform to extend the hardware capabilities and programming constructs.

Shields, which essentially pre built modules available for integration with standard arduino projects, are highlighted in the use of the ethernet, GPS and microSD shields, and with the use of a proto shield to create a custom shield.

A range of ways to expand the functionality possible with a simple arduino board are explored using a solderless breadboard, with various input sources such as numeric keyboard and touchscreen, use of timers and interrupts and expanding sketches with libraries.

Capability to achieve controlled movement is demonstrated with servo motors, including parameters in selecting a motor, using electric motors and related components, and building and controlling a tank robot using the motor shield while detecting collisions with micro switch and distance sensors

Use of data buses to explain how to interface with sensors and external devices that communicate on the serial peripheral interface and the inter integrated circuit as well as use of wireless data and RFID tags make the book comprehensives in detailing the range of capabilities that could be explored with the book as a source book.

Apart from providing a hands-on primer to Arduino, the book provides a great overview of concepts, components, and pointers in implementing projects and brings out the broad range of possibilities without sounding like a laundry list! Arduino Workshop should be interesting for the beginner as well as to more advanced enthusiasts interested in exploring Arduino more in depth.


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